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Candles and Flowers in Cemetery Niches
Candles and Flowers in Cemetery Niches

Introduction (The Government just announced that cemeteries, crematoria, etc. are closed to the public from October 29- Nov2, 2021.)
No Pandemic can stand in the way of honoring our Departed Loved ones. On the contrary, the moments of isolation, of lockdown have given us more time to commune with them. They are not just memories; they are part of our lives. This is what Communion of Saints means for us, Christians.
When we celebrate All Saints Day, we honor not only the officially canonized saints of the church but all dear persons whose lives reflect goodness (God-ness). And we usually spend more time re-membering them throughout the month of November. Thus, this Prayer Service could be a help.
This Prayer Service is meant to be flexible and adjusted according to the participants, their time, their intention, attention, etc. It could be a “buffet” where you choose what you can chew and nourishing for relationships.
Picking from different sources and favorites, I added my own flavor here and there. But through it all, follow the SPIRIT who prays deep within us.

Opening Song, Optional
Amazing Grace by Sissel. https://youtu.be/7DFQRBXZa9Y
You’ll Never Walk Alone. https://youtu.be/Aj5qrhUih6A

Part I: three options, as starters: I would call them: (a) Lectio Divina, (b) Visio Divina (c) Audio Divina

(a) Lectio Divina. Some Quotes to Ponder
Allow the text to think of your Departed Loved ones….

  • Together the living form with the dead one community of memory and hope, a holy people touched with the fire of the Spirit, summoned to go forth as companions bringing the face of divine compassion into everyday life. —Elizabeth A. Johnson
  • I am connected to the past and the future by the ligatures of well-lived lives, the mysteries of “beyondness,” and the memories and narratives that lovingly bind and support me. —Barbara A. Holmes
  • The dead have returned to the nest of their identity within the great circle of God. God is the greatest circle of all, the largest embrace in the universe, which holds visible and invisible, temporal and eternal, as one. —John O’Donohue
  • Gospel of John. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house’ (John 14:2).”

We are in deep, growing communion. What qualities of the Departed remain alive in me?

(b) Visio Divina. If you cannot visit a cemetery on All Souls Day, perhaps contemplating a picture of the cemetery, or Autumn Park, or portrait of the Departed may help you to pray for your departed loved ones. While gazing at an image, a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery… something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.
Who are you remembering today? What would you like to say to each one in your prayer?

(c) Audio Divina. Listen to the music from these sources (or any of your choice).

  • Song: “Candles in the Night,” (CD: Ever With You, Jan Phillips)
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXakEhDq6Z8
  • Richard Strauss – All Souls’ Day [Fennell, TKWO] by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra; The Special
  • Concert Vol. 66 – Conductor: Frederick Fennell; April 20th, 2000 / Tokyo Bunka Kaikan.
  • Song: To Where You Are by artist Josh Groban As one commentator says: “Love transcends
  • beyond this life.
  • Magnificat by Fr Bong A. Panganiban https://youtu.be/9wv4DAC72HA

What sentiments are evoked in you? Listen to the stirrings of your heart….

Part II (If the family is praying together, you can spend some time for Faith-sharing)
We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live consciously in the communion of saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ.
All Saints Day celebrates the times we enlarge the circle, “break boundaries and create hope.” It is a feast to celebrate the best of ourselves and to give thanks to our Loving God!
All Souls Day celebrates the times we fall a bit short of our true selves and our deepest desires to include and celebrate diversity in ideas, in ideologies, and in the persons who hold them. It is likewise a feast to celebrate the struggle it is to be our best, our deepest hopes for ourselves and to ask our Merciful God to continue to offer us insight, courage and friendship as we journey together.

You can either choose any of the parts of Prayer Service 1 or 2; or proceed to the following, or create your own.

God of the seasons,
there is a time for everything;
there is a time for dying and a time for rising.
We need courage to enter into
the transformation processes.

God of autumn,
the trees are saying goodbye to their green,
letting go of what has been.
We, too, have our moments of surrender,
with all their insecurity and risk.
Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves,
lying in colored patterns on the ground,
our lives have their own patterns.
As we see the patterns of our own growth,
may we learn from them.

God of misty days
and harvest moon nights,
there is always the dimension of mystery
and wonder in our lives.
We always need to recognize your power-filled presence.
May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons
and fields of ripened grain,
many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender.
We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.
Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south
for another season, your wisdom enables us
to know what needs to be left behind
and what needs to be carried into the future.
We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers
touched with frost and windows wearing white designs,
may your love keep our hearts
from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life,
you believe in us, you enrich us,
you entrust us with the freedom to choose life.
For all this, we are grateful. Amen.

Reading: John 6:37-40. A reading from the holy Gospel according to John:
Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

The Gospel of the Lord. // Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

. We bring our prayers to God as we remember those who have gone before us in eternal life.

  • We pray for all who experienced especially painful deaths, particularly victims of violence, natural disaster, and covid-19, may they be brought to rest in God’s loving arms and the comfort of God’s peace.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

  • We pray for those who died suddenly, unexpectedly, or at a young age. May they be comforted with the eternal happiness of God’s tender gaze.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

  • We pray for those children who returned to God before having the opportunity to meet their parents in person. May God relish and delight in them, as their loved ones would have, and may God comfort those who feel the loss.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

  • We pray for the family and friends of the dead. As they struggle with the many faces of grief, may God grant them the courage to continue to work through it, and may they feel the love and support of their communities.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

  • We pray in gratitude for the front-line caregivers and others in Catholic health care who passed away in service this past year. May we remember and emulate their selflessness, humility, and commitment to those who are ill.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

  • We pray for the medical teams, families, and others who care for the sick and dying. May they see the face of God the people they care for. Give them the grace to accompany suffering with courage.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

  • We pray for the forgotten one, the nameless, those in most need of prayers…


Leader: Together with all the saints, we pray for those who have gone before us in the service  of Catholic health care, especially those whose names are kept in our memorial book.

Reader: List of NAMES…
Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy

Reader: More NAMES
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for them
Saint Michael, pray for them
Saint John the Baptist, pray for them
Saint Joseph, pray for them
Saint Peter, pray for them
Saint Paul, pray for them

Reader: More NAMES
Saint Andrew, pray for them
Saint Mary of Magdala, pray for them
Saint Stephen, pray for them
Saint Ann, pray for them
Saint Teresa, pray for them
Saint Catherine, pray for them

Reader: More NAMES
Saint Arnold Janssen, pray for them
Saint Joseph Freinademetz, pray for them
Blessed Maria and Blessed Josepha, pray for them.
All holy men and women, pray for them
Christ, pardon all their faults: Lord, hear our prayer
Christ, remember the good they have done: Lord, hear our prayer
Christ, receive them into eternal life: Lord, hear our prayer
Christ, comfort all those who mourn: Lord, hear our prayer

Reader: More NAMES
Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy
With Christ there is mercy and fullness of redemption; let us pray as Jesus taught us:


: Into your hands, God of mercies, we commend our brothers and sisters in the sure hope that together with all who have died in Christ, they shall rise with him on the last day.
We give thanks for the blessing of life which you bestowed upon them in this life; they are signs of your goodness and our fellowship with the saints in Christ.
Merciful God, turn toward us and listen to our prayers. Open the gates of heaven to your servants and help us who remain a comfort to one another and t carry on in the good work we shared until we all meet in Christ in your holy and eternal presence. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Closing Song, Optional
Ave Maria https://youtu.be/3d4xXvF2ukY
Ave Maria in Aramaic https://youtu.be/Op3WCkvhBD8
Ave Maria by Luciano Pavarotti https://youtu.be/XpYGgtrMTYs


  • Blogs from Bridget Mary Meehan; Marina McCoy of Boston College
  • Websites: Joyce Rupp, OSM; Fr Richard Rohr OFM

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