Cemeteries sacred ground to celebrate life–bishops
Caloocan Bishop Pablo David has urged the faithful to preserve the sacredness of cemeteries during the annual commemoration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
In an interview over the Church-run Radyo Veritas, David reminded Filipinos, who typically honor their dead in festive fashion, to give respect to the tombs of their departed loved ones.
“Please, let us not disrespect the graves of the departed by littering,” he said. “Please let us be more mindful of the holiness the sacredness of our cemeteries. Cemeteries are also called Kampo Santo, it means ‘sacred ground.’”
“Let us pray. Let us make our visit to our departed loved ones sacred, David added.
While the observance of the day of the dead is supposed to be solemn, many Filipinos use the occasion to plan family gatherings at the tombs, where drinking and even open-air karaoke singing sessions are held.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also reminded the faithful that the commemoration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day should be a “celebration of life” and not a time for spooky and scary stories.
“What do we bring to the cemeteries? We bring fresh flowers, not plastic ones. We light candles. We bring food. Fresh flower, lighted candles, food—all of these are symbols of life. Hence, we bring life to the cemeteries. It is our Christian belief that there is life beyond death,” said Pabillo in his blog.
He urged the faithful to pray for their departed loved ones.
“We do not go to the cemeteries just to eat and see each other, not even just to remember the dead. We go there to pray for them … We ask their help through our prayers. In fact, the lighting of the candle and the putting of fresh flowers are done reverently. They signify our prayers,” the prelate said.
Pabillo, chair of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said Catholics should not follow the “secular way” of observing Halloween. Scary costumes make Halloween a “celebration of death” instead of life, he said.
“[D]ue to commercialism and pagan influences, the celebration of life and holiness is being turned into time of fear, horror and death. This is the Halloween culture that many are unwittingly embracing, as if it is funny and cool,” he said.
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