LAKE CHARLES — Bishop Glen John Provost celebrated the annual Mass for the Dead at Consolata Cemetery in Lake Charles at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, November 3. The Mass, this year on the Feast of St. Martin de Porres, is hosted annually by the Diocese of Lake Charles and Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in the main mausoleum.
The Catholic Church dedicates the entire month of November to praying in a special way for Holy Souls (also called the Faithful Departed) in Purgatory. The Holy Souls are referred to as the Church Suffering, while the Saints in Heaven are the Church Triumphant. The faithful on earth are the Church Militant.
Purgatory and prayers for the dead are an important part of the Month of Holy Souls. Since the Holy Souls in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, they rely entirely on living souls to pray and make sacrifices on their behalf while awaiting purification of their souls.
In his homily, Bishop Provost told those in attendance that God created us to live an earthly life, but He also created us, more importantly, for eternal life.
“Our Lord in the Gospel of St. Luke reminds us that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him, all are alive,” the bishop said.
For those born to new life in Jesus Christ, earthly death will be turned into eternal life, the bishop continued.
“Death, before Our Lord’s coming, we could easily say was the cause of much fear. But with Our Lord’s coming, death becomes not an end, but a beginning,” Bishop Provost said with reassurance.
Catholics believe that the forgiveness of sins can take place following death. This is the purpose of Purgatory.
“Forgiveness is possible beyond the grave for those who die not having separated themselves definitively from God,” Bishop Provost said. “What we are doing this evening is offering our prayers for the deceased. We offer them for their eternal repose and their union with God in the beatific vision.”
He went on to say, “Christ makes possible the Resurrection to new life, and to this belief we add His definitive words, ‘He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him, all are alive.’ To this we must add, God lives. He lives for us. He lives for them. We all live for Him.”
Priests concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Provost were Rev. Monsignor Daniel A. Torres, Vicar General and Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church; Very Rev. Rojo Koonathan, H.G.N., Pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church; Rev. Levi Thompson, Parochial Vicar of Our Lady Queen of Heaven; Rev. Charles Okorougo; and Deacon Harold Nixon of Our Lady Queen of Heaven. Rev. Samuel Bond served as Master of Ceremonies.
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.
Following the Mass, several priests walked around blessing graves for family and friends. View more photos on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lake Charles Facebook Page.