By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES — Bishop Glen John Provost celebrated the All Souls Day Remembrance Mass at Consolata Cemetery at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 2. There were more than 500 people in attendance.
The Mass is hosted annually by the Diocese of Lake Charles and Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in the main mausoleum.
On All Souls Day and during the month of November, the Church prays in a special way for the souls of the faithful departed.
Purgatory and prayers for the dead are in important part of All Souls Day. Since the Holy Souls in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, they rely entirely on living souls to pray and make sacrifices on their behalf.
In his homily, Bishop Provost reminded those in attendance that a lesson Purgatory teaches is that nothing is ever wasted in the life of faith, and that includes suffering.
“Jesus warns us in the Gospel that the journey to eternal life would not be easy,” the bishop said. “Suffering is a purification, and it is necessary. We cannot avoid it. It is through this redemptive suffering joined with Christ’s suffering that we are made even more pleasing to God.”
Bishop Provost said that suffering has meaning in Purgatory because there it has an end that is nothing less of union with God and his love.
“God has purified us as much as possible to be in his presence for all eternity,” the bishop said. “There is reason for hope, and Purgatory is the doctrine of hope, the doctrine of love.”
Priests concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Provost were Rev. Monsignor Daniel A. Torres, Vicar General and Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven; Very Rev. Aubrey Guilbeau; Very Rev. Rojo Koonathan, H.G.N.; Very Rev. Ruben Villarreal; Rev. Levi Thompson; Rev. Michael Caraway; Rev. Charles Okorougo; and Deacon Harold Nixon. Rev. Samuel Bond served as Master of Ceremonies.
Following the Mass, the priests walked around blessing graves for family and friends. Brenda Hickman, Vice Regent of Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Court 1785, assisted with the preparation of 2,000 luminaries placed throughout the cemetery.
“I’ve been helping with the (All Souls Day) event for a long time,” Brenda said. Her parents, Nelson and Verna Ann Bourgeois who were married 73 years and both died at the age of 93, are buried in Consolata Cemetery.
“My mom recently passed in 2020, and my dad died in 2017. I have close to 20 relatives here, including aunts, uncles, and cousins,” Brenda said. “It is comforting when the priests go around and bless the graves and say prayers for the deceased.”
Brenda said she has been attending the Mass of Remembrance for about 27 years. “The preparation that goes into making this a beautiful, serene night adds to the ambience. It’s very spiritual for me.”
Serving as Honor Guard for the Mass was Monsignor Hubert Cramers Assembly 320 Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. Members of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, OLQH Court 1785 were also in attendance. Colette Tanner directed the choir for the liturgy.