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For All the Saints


Today is the day after All Hallows Eve, traditionally referred to as All Saints Day. Over All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, the Roman Catholic Church, and many Christian denominations observe November 1st as a day for the living to commemorate the dead. The Sunday following All Saints Day is a festival Sunday in the church, All Saints Sunday, in which all saints who have died, known and unknown, are remembered. A candle is lit for each person who has died in the church during the calendar year, and their name is spoken aloud, and a bell rung. As their names are read, congregants speak the word 'present' to signify that those who have died, remain with us in spirit, and are not forgotten. Typically, members of the church are invited to light a candle to remember those they have loved and lost through the years.

All Saints Day and All Saints Sunday can be tough to get through. They stir up a lot of emotions. I never became too weepy during an All Saints service until I lost my Grandfather, Robert (Bob) Durocher Sr. as a high schooler. Years later, I would also lose my Grandpa Jones, followed by his beloved wife, my Grandma Louise, barely a month after the birth of my first child. Soon after, my Uncle Dan joined the ranks of the saints, unexpectedly. As cancer cut short the lives of my three previously mentioned grandparents, it would also claim the life of my beloved Gram (Alice, pictured above with me on my wedding day in 2007) in 2016. As the years flew by, our family would also lose great aunts and uncles, most recently my Great Uncle Roy, and my Great Aunt Patty, who was also Godmother to me and my sister. My husband has lost his Great Grandmother and Great Aunt in recent years, as well, both beautiful souls, who I feel blessed to have known.

It helps to know that they all had great faith. They all loved Jesus, served God, and loved their families. As much as it hurts my heart that they are no longer with us in body, they remain on my mind, and their spirits are often felt.

If you are experiencing hurt or pain at the loss of someone dear to you this All Saints Day, I pray you find peace and comfort. I ask that God gives you strength in the days ahead and that you are given strength to meet each new day.

My family and I usually watch the Disney-Pixar movie COCO around All Saints Day. It's a beautiful movie and encourages us to celebrate the lives of those we've loved and lost. I love the Dia De Los Muertos tradition of placing a photo of the dead on the ofrenda, an altar or table with offerings and decorations. It's a beautiful way to remember and celebrate the lives of those we have loved and to remind ourselves that they are still with us in memory and spirit. If you haven't had the chance to see COCO, it's streaming on Disney+. Grab tissues, though- you've been warned.

I look forward to going through photos of my family today, sharing those with my kids as we talk about them, and remembering so many wonderful memories. I hope you'll take the time to do something like this with your family on this All Saints Day.

May the God of peace and love be with you today and always.

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