The two great religious feasts of Michaelmas Term fall during this week: All Saints
on 1 November and All Souls on 2 November. On both days Mass will be celebrated at 8.20 am, 1.10 pm & 6 pm. All Saints is an Holyday of Obligation in England and Wales; we are asked to go to Mass as on a Sunday. All Souls is not an Holyday of Obligation but speaks powerfully to us. It is a day especially dedicated to praying for the dead: both those we have known and loved, and the many who have been long forgotten. When we die, it may be necessary for us to experience a preparation to grow into Heaven. We call this Purgatory. As death cannot break our communion with each other, so our prayers for the dead still count. This is what St John Chrysostom preached in the late 380s: 'Let us help and commemorate the dead. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.' From tomorrow (31 October) at Fisher House, it will be possible to leave the names of the dead for whom you especially wish prayers to be offered. These will be placed in front of the altar during November, and through the month Masses will be regularly offered for the dead. In Jesus Christ, we are not powerless in the face of death. We can pray and do much good (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1032). Requiescant in pace.