Mass For All Souls Day Held In Cemetery

Saturday was 'All Souls Day,'  a special day to remember and pray for the dead.

At St. James Cemetery in Gulfport, about fifty Catholics came out to celebrate mass and remember loved ones.

Mass in the cemetery is nothing new or unusual. The service commemorates all the people who have died, in particular those souls who have died who were not ready to see god. 

"All souls, of course follows, all saints, and the church has always believed in the communion of saints, the people have gone before us are not dead, they still live," St. James deacon Rick Conason said.

Most of the people at the cemetery Saturday had relatives who are buried there.

"Because in Christ we're one, death does not divide us, and because of this we think of them as being with us as we celebrate the euchrastist. This goes right into the roots of Christianity," St. James Pastor Fr. George Kitchen said.

It's been the tradition of the church, since the times of Christ, to pray for the deceased, which grew out of a similar Jewish custom.

"For the church, the body of the church has always had a special importance, and all of our brothers and sister here, even though they are dead in this life, are alive either in purgatory or in heaven someplace," Conason said.

Catholics believe that when you die, you don't die alone but as part of the body of Christ.

"It's extremely comforting, to think the one thing that everyone seems so alone with, death, they're really not. It's something that for Christians, as we die in Christ we're not only entering into glory, but we're completing something begun at our baptism, when Christ joined him to himself, which makes us part of his church," said Kitchen.
"It's a devotion in one sense, people will come for all different reasons, some will come to be close to a loved one, and there are many people who will come here today who have loved ones buried here," Conason said.