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No need to go to cemeteries to pray for departed loved ones, Filipino Catholics told

The celebration of the Holy Eucharist is the “best prayer” that people can offer for their dear departed

There is no need for the Catholic faithful to go to the cemeteries to pray and show their respect for their departed loved ones on All Souls’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

“It is a good and a holy thought to pray for the dead,” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, but he added that sharing stories and the memories of the beloved dead can bind the living closer to each other.

“This will be another opportunity to deepen the bond among family members through prayers, reflections, and devotions for the poor souls,” added Bishop Marvyn Maceda of Antique.

The country’s Catholic Church leaders urged everyone to go to Church and offer Mass for the beloved dead if they could not visit the cemeteries because of quarantine restrictions.

Every year, cemeteries in the Philippines would look like party places as people visit the tombs of their departed loved ones on November 1 and 2.

This year, however, the government decided to close cemeteries across the country to prevent the possible spread of the new coronavirus disease.

Bishop Pabillo said the Holy Eucharist is the “best prayer” that people can offer for the dear departed.

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Parishes across the country have announced that additional Masses will be celebrated during these days to accommodate more churchgoers.

The faithful may also request for Masses for their dead via the “Undas” website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, media office director of the bishops’ conference, said one can light an “online candle” while praying for their dear departed.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, meanwhile, urged the faithful to pray for the dead every day and not just on November 1 and 2.

“We have to pray for them not just today, All Saints’ Day, but every day,” he said in a pastoral letter.

“We can also offer them flowers, not only on the first day of November, but also on other days. Candles can also be lit in our homes,” said the prelate.

“The significant thing about this is that everything we do, even if it’s not November 1, is a sign of our appreciation and love for them,” he said

“Everything we do even on ordinary days conveys that they remain in our minds and hearts,” added Bishop Santos.

He said that instead of focusing on being scary during Halloween, Catholics “can be holy instead of horrible.”

“Let us strive to be holy. Let us be saints instead of scary,” he said, adding that the faithful should commemorate the beauty of the lives “of those who have gone home to be with the Heavenly Father.”

“Let us recall their good words, lessons, and examples. These are the things we must remember and live by,” he said.

Bishop Santos said all should aspire to be saints while we are still here on earth. “We must work not only to enter heaven but much more to be saints of God,” he said.

“As we stay at home during this November 1, let us resolve to live an honorable and holy life,” he said.

“We should be inspired with firm hope to be faithful to Christ’s teachings even in the middle of a pandemic,” added the bishop.

All Saints’ Day is a solemn holiday commemorated every year on November 1, in honor of all the known and unknown saints of the Catholic Church.

All Souls’ Day on November 2 is a Catholic day of remembrance for the departed.

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