Bishop Robert Deeley celebrates an All Souls' Day Mass of Remembrance

In commemoration of All Souls’ Day, Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated a Mass of Remembrance on the evening of November 2 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

All Souls’ Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, is a day set aside to pray for deceased family members and friends and all the souls in purgatory. It comes just one day after All Saints’ Day, in which we celebrate those who have earned their heavenly reward.

“The Church gives us these feasts of remembrance in a time of year that sees the dying of nature all around us. It focuses us on the passing of time. That might give rise to the idea that this is a gloomy celebration reflecting the darkness of the declining light each day. That would not, however, be accurate. In fact, the Scripture we hear this evening is full of hope, full of light and promise even in the midst of sadness and loss,” the bishop said. “We are a people of hope and of prayer. We believe in God’s love, and we believe that that love is strong enough to overcome death.  We believe that one day we will be together again as family and friends.”

The bishop said it is through our prayers that we remain united with our loved ones until we can with them again. 

“In God, we can help with our prayers and our good works those who have died. And they, in turn, can bring our intentions and needs before God,” the bishop said. “This gives us a reason to hope, even in our feelings of loss.”

During the Mass at the cathedral, the names of parishioners from the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes who died within the past year were read aloud, one by one. Those who attended the Mass also had the opportunity to write names of deceased loved ones in a Book of Remembrance, and prayers were offered for all the people whose names were listed there.

The Mass also provided an opportunity for the congregation to join in prayer for the 18 people killed in the Lewiston mass shootings on Wednesday, October 25.

“We have run the gamut of emotion over the last week. We were shocked and outraged. We were frightened when the shooter was not found. We were relieved when he was and then were left to grieve the great loss of life that had transpired. I was privileged to bring the sympathies of the Church to the ecumenical prayer service that took place on Sunday evening at the basilica in Lewiston. I promised to pray for those who had died and for their families and loved ones as I joined my sympathies to those of Pope Francis who kindly had expressed ‘his spiritual closeness to all those suffering from this unspeakable tragedy, especially the families who had lost loved ones.’ And so, we will pray this evening for all the deceased, those we name, those we remember in our hearts, and those for whom we have promised to pray in this month of the holy souls, the month of November,” the bishop said.

Prayers were also offered during the Mass for all who lost their lives due to violence or war and for all who are mourning the loss of loved ones.

The Mass at the cathedral was presented with the help of the Consoling Hearts Ministry. Similar All Souls’ Day Masses of remembrance were celebrated at Catholic churches around the state of Maine, and prayer services were held at several cemeteries.

Candle and Book of Remembrance
Father Seamus Griesbach
Reading names of deceased loved ones
Bishop Robert Deeley
Reading names of deceased loved ones
Bishop Deeley and concelebrating priests