Election Day and Day of the Dead

Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.

Sunday, Nov. 2, is All Souls Day, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (Year A, Cycle II). Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on Nov. 3 for all the deceased cardinals and bishops of the year 2008 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s.


Nov. 4 is Election Day, and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life offers this advice:

1. Vote early.

Vote first thing in the morning. If you wait, you increase the chances that something might prevent you. The earlier, the better.

2. Help other pro-lifers vote.

Offer rides. Maybe you know a pro-lifer who is stuck at home with no car. Or organize trips to the polls on a wider scale with car pools.

Offer babysitting. Help a busy mom, or even organize a service for a group of parents.

E-mail and call. Remind pro-life friends that it’s voting day.

3. Avoid overconfidence or dejection.

If the election goes the way you want, don’t become overconfident or complacent. Work harder than ever to encourage and assist those whom you helped elect. If it does not go the way you want, set your energies on challenging those who were elected to govern in a way that follows the moral law.

In any case: Pray! “Nothing is impossible for God.” Pray for the family and the unborn in America.


Our house’s Halloween decorations are fake gravestones with signs that say “Pray for the Souls in Purgatory.” That allows Halloween to be the prelude to All Souls Day, when we visit a graveyard and remember that the entire month of November is devoted to prayer for the dead.


(Selected by the U.S. bishops’ website from the options for this day.)

Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 23:1-6; Romans 5:5-11; John 6:37-40

EPriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take

Today is All Souls Day, when the whole Church remembers death.

We have often had a conversation with our children about the skewed priorities of high school.

During those four years of our lives, our problems rise up in an exaggerated way. Petty disagreements among friends, troubles with teachers who are too strict or too careless, social cliques that exclude us or demand we change — all of these seem like all-consuming issues that will make or break us. Then, suddenly, we find that high school is over, and we wondered why we even cared.

All Souls Day reminds us that our whole lives are a little like that.

Death is the great leveler of humanity. To stop and contemplate death is to get a new perspective on all our problems. All the problems we worry about with our families, with politics, the office, neighbors and friends — they are all important, but one by one, in the near future, the drama of each will be reduced to one question: How do I account to God for my life?

C.S. Lewis said he would remind himself when speaking to someone that, 60 years hence, the person would either be so glorious in heaven that he would be tempted to worship him, or so horrible in hell that he would be tempted to flee in terror.

That’s the perspective All Souls Day gives.

Thankfully, the readings today (there are many options; we chose the ones from the bishops’ website here) give great reason for hope. We leave you with a few quotes from them:

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”

“They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.”

“Brothers and sisters: Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

“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.”