November is the month of the Holy Souls when we pray for our dear departed. We Columbans also pray for our deceased members at Cemetery Sunday Mass in June. We are joined at the cemetery in Dalgan Park by the families of those Columban Fathers who have died. After Mass we have a chance to share memories of our deceased brother priests.
Unfortunately, due to Covid, the event was downscaled for two years. But a Mass was still celebrated in the cemetery while restrictions were observed. This year we were able to return to full participation and we were so glad to be able to meet the families of our deceased members once again.
Cemetery Sunday is a very special moment for the families and Columbans to come together. It is an expression of gratitude to families for their support of their deceased missionaries and for Columban mission.
November, the month of the Holy Souls, is universally marked throughout the world. Visiting graves is the norm. In Asian culture, and in some religious denominations, special effort is made to remember the dead. People often travel long distances to be present at the graves of their ancestors. This most solemn occasion is sometimes marked by placing some wine and food at the graves.
This year we are again remembering those who died as a result of the pandemic, as well as war, violence and hunger linked to climate change, which is desecrating planet Earth. But we remember the dead with the hope of resurrection. As a Buddhist poet once wrote: ‘As winter brings death to nature’s span, so does spring awaken life again’.
Fr Michael O’Loughlin
by Fr Raymond Husband
Standing in the midst of the headstones
Memories come flooding back of a faraway place of different shores.
Men strong and vigorous, enthused by Christ’s call to go “make
disciples of all nations”.
Years have passed, their work is done, they rest now in anticipation
of another call to rise and join their Lord in joyful celebration.
Their journey now complete they lie side by side in Dalgan’s cemetery
serenaded by the blackbird’s lonesome song.
A life well lived, treasured not forgotten.
Memories of faraway shores join with the blackbird’s song
in honouring you my Columban friends.