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02 November 2006
  Commemoration of the Faithful Departed
2 November

requiescat in paceAlso known as All Souls' Day, this commemoration goes hand in glove with yesterday's remembrance of All Saints' Day. In the early Church, feasts of apostles and evangelists were soon celebrated, especially those of Peter and Paul, although John and James were also early favorites.

Later, martyrs and many other canonized saints were commemorated on 1 November (All Saints' Day). The departed in purgatory were remembered on 2 November (November 3, if November 2 fell on Sunday).

Although the unbiblical idea of purgatory was rooted out of the Lutheran Church, our forefathers saw much good in a day set aside to remember those who departed in the Faith and who await the resurrection of all flesh. Many who grew up in the German language remember the day as Totenfest.

In much of Latin America, All Saints' and, especially, All Souls' Day morphed somewhat into the Day (or Days) of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). This is more of a secular festival with religious (and often superstitious) overtones which especially remembers departed family members, friends, and even pets with special altars and much feasting.

Lection

Psalm 34:1-9
Isaiah 35:3-10
2 Peter 3:8-14
John 5:24-29

Collect

Almighty God, in whose glorious presence live all who depart in the Lord and before whom all the souls of the faithful who are delivered of the burden of the flesh are in joy and felicity, we give You hearty thanks for Your loving-kindness to all Your servants who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labors, and we humbly implore Your mercy that we, together with all who have departed in the saving Faith, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, in both body and soul, in Your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

See the Christian Cyclopedia for more information.

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Comments:
El Dia de los Muertos has roots in pre-Columbian cultures throughout Latin America. But customs differ widely from country to country. In Mexico there is much macabre imagery and occultic practices assocated with el Dia de los Muertos. Here in Venezuela, however, November 2 is almost the exact equivalent of Memorial Day in the United States. Everyone visits and lays flowers on the graves of departed loved ones and that's about it.
 
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