Bishops appeal for solemn observance of ‘Undas’
Catholic bishops on Friday appealed for a solemn and prayerful observation of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day and urged the public not to turn gravesites into picnic spots.
“The best and most beneficial things we can do and offer to our beloved departed are our prayers and offering holy masses for them,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos.
“We go to cemeteries to remember them and their good deeds, not for picnic, not for reunion,” he added.
Every year, come November 1 and 2, cemeteries all over the country come to life when the living visit their dead in what has come to be a tradition referred to by Filipinos as ‘Undas.”
But more than tradition, the occasion has also become a family affair as tents are put up for picnics, games, or story-telling about a dearly departed.
However, Santos said the faithful should understand that the occasion is not a moment to hold picnics or do something that would degrade the proper way to remember the dead and honor the saints.
Instead, he said the faithful should take the occasion as an opportunity to reflect on how one can live a holy life.
“Let us remember that Nov. 1 and 2 are occasions for us to reflect on our state, our status, knowing that our lives have ending and that ending should bring us to heaven,” Santos said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.
He also urged the faithful to pray for the departed not only every Nov. 1 and 2 but everyday, especially during the Holy Eucharist.
“More than flowers and candles, it is important that we offer them prayers and Masses,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo urged the government to declare Nov. 2 a holiday and recognize it as the appropriate day for remembering the dead.
“What’s happening is that many Filipinos, many Dioceses, have emphasized All Saints Day as the time of blessing the dead and blessing the grave. I think that’s a wrong one and a wrong message to give when the holiday is November 1 rather than November 2. I would think that the time to travel to the province would be November 1 and the actual honoring is November 2 and the time to return would be November 3,” Quevedo said over Radio Veritas.
Quevedo stressed the importance of prayer not only for the the souls of departed loved ones but more importantly for the repose of the souls in purgatory.
“Some of our beloved have passed away they are to be prayed for….but there is a Theological doctrine of what we call ‘communion of saints.’ Saints in heaven, saints on earth, those who are church militant, church suffering. Whether purgatory or elsewhere of those who passed away and we are in solidarity with them when we pray for them and asks our saints to pray for them. Let us remember that when we honor the dead,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.