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Departed Loved Ones, Including Tree of Life Synagogue Victims, Remembered at All Souls’ Day Mass in Portland on Friday Night

Bishop Deeley Presides at Mass on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

PORTLAND---Deceased loved ones were remembered in prayer during a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert P. Deeley on All Souls’ Day (the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed) on Friday evening, November 2, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland (additional pictures below).

“On Thursday, we gathered for All Saints’ Day. It was our opportunity to celebrate the heroes of our faith, those who have lived the Gospel and whom we believe now live with the Lord,” the bishop told the large assembly. “Today, we remember our dear departed loved ones entrusting them to the mercy of God.”

During the Mass, the names of parishioners from the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish, St. Louis Parish, St. Peter Parish, all in Portland; and St. Christopher Parish on Peaks Island) who passed away within the last year were read aloud. After each group of ten names, the congregation paused in silent prayer as a bell tolled and a candle was lit in their memory. Those gathered were also encouraged to enter the name of a loved one in a Book of Remembrance.

“May these loved ones, all those listed in our Book of Remembrance, and all whose names we hold in the silence of our hearts, enjoy admittance into Your heavenly banquet,” prayed the bishop after the last candle was lit.

The departed remembered on Friday included the 11 innocent victims who died in the horrifying attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday. Bishop Deeley told those assembled about his experience at Tuesday’s overflow vigil in South Portland that was sponsored by the Jewish Community Alliance.

“I am grateful to Rabbi Jared Saks who graciously invited me to express words of sympathy at the vigil. I was happy to extend the condolences of our Catholic community at a time of great sadness. I shared the message of Pope Francis. It reflects for me the sentiment we all feel at this horrible loss: ‘May the Almighty welcome the deceased in His peace, console their families and support the injured. In reality, we are all wounded by this inhuman act of violence. May the Lord help us to extinguish the outbreaks of hatred that develop in our societies, reinforcing the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values, and the holy fear of God, who is Love and the Father of all.’”

The bishop noted that a range of emotions were expressed at the vigil, including sorrow and anger.

“In addition to those sentiments, I was also struck by the hope and faith that was voiced as well, particularly faith in an ongoing existence of those who had died,” said Bishop Deeley. “There was a feeling expressed by many of the speakers, rabbis, and cantors alike that we would pray for peace for the deceased even as we mourn their loss.”

While All Souls’ Day is a solemn feast, Bishop Deeley said it, too, can be a day of hope.

“Our gathering this evening reminds us that God is at work here on earth, watching over us, guiding us, and sustaining us in our trials,” said the bishop. “But we express our belief this evening that God is also at work after death, establishing the justice that was missing in this fallen world, purifying the souls in purgatory, and enlightening the souls in heaven. In the hope which faith gives us, we pray, may the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.”

The Mass was organized by the Consoling Hearts Ministry, a group that provides prayerful support for the families of the deceased at the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes. The group is also involved in assisting clergy at funerals and helping to educate parishioners on death and related issues. Similar All Souls’ Day commemorations were held at other churches in the diocese on Friday. Additional Masses and prayer services are also planned throughout the month of November.