Remembering Our Loved Ones

On Sunday, November 4, we will commemorate All Saints’ Day, which officially is celebrated in the Episcopal Church’s calendar on November 1. As many of you know, November 2 is then All Souls’ Day, when we remember those who have departed this life in the hope of the resurrection, especially in the preceding year. During the service on November 4, we will read a necrology of those we have loved who have passed away, giving thanks for their presence and love in our lives.

In our expanding world, one of the blessings we receive from meeting people from various cultures and traditions that sometimes can provide new ways to celebrate and mark milestones in our lives. Our neighbors in Latin America have a lovely tradition celebrating the lives of their dead loved ones known as Dia de los Muertos. It’s a lovely way to remember that those we love are never completely gone from us, and to celebrate how they have touched and continue to touch our lives. This practice of remembering, thanksgiving, and celebration reminds us of the sweetness of our memories, and how blessed we have been to be bound in love to our friends and relatives, even when separated by death.

This celebratory aspect nicely complements our own Episcopal rites of Burial, which are reflective of the celebration of Easter. As noted in our Book of Common Prayer, while honoring our own mourning at our loss, our Burial liturgy

“…finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that ‘neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things to come,… nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 507).


Over the next two weeks, we will have an ofrenda, or altar commemorating our loved ones who have died, in the chapel area. It is traditional to decorate this altar with marigolds (especially yellow ones), as well as candles, cut paper banners called papel picado, and other symbols.

I invite you to bring the names of loved ones, along with photocopies of photographs of them if you wish, and arrange them upon the ofrenda in the chapel. The ofrenda will remain in place in the chapel through the week of November 5. Please make sure you put your name on anything you would like returned.

I also invite you to email Wendy, our clergy assistant, with the first and last names of those you would like to have read aloud during the necrology during the worship service on November 4. Please get these names to Wendy no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, October 30.