Here in the Hurunui in the first weekend of November each year, priest and parishioners meet in each of the eight cemeteries of the parish to pray for those who are buried in each cemetery. Our prayer is simple and brief, five minutes of prayer together before people go to stand by the graves they want me to bless.
In an age where the tendency is to avoid the reality of death, it is especially inspiring to see parents bringing their children to the cemetery, teaching them that a cemetery is not a place of fear but a place of hope.
If you would like me to bless a grave in the Christchurch – North Canterbury area this month don’t hesitate to contact me.
Pope Benedict reflects on prayer in a cemetery.
“…the Church invites us to commemorate all the faithful departed, to turn our eyes to the many faces who have gone before us and who have ended their earthly journey…during these days we go to the cemetery to pray for the loved ones who have left us, as it were paying a visit to show them, once more, our love, to feel them still close, remembering also, and article of the creed: in the communion of saints there is a close bond between us who are still walking here upon the earth and those many brothers and sisters who have already entered eternity.
“Human beings have always cared for their dead and sought to give them a sort of second life through attention, care and affection, In a way, we want to preserve their experience of life; and paradoxically by looking at their graves, before which countless memories return, we discover how they lived, what they loved, what they feared, what they hoped for and what they hated, They are almost a mirror of their world.” Pope Benedict XVI. All Souls Day 2011