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All Souls' Day: We remember

Each year at the beginning of November, the church celebrates All Souls' Day, a time to pray for those who have died. This feast is commemorated differently in different cultures. Rev. Thomas Anderson, S.J., spent his diaconate year in the Philippines, where he took part in the traditional Filipino celebrations. He shares his memories with Marquette Magazine.

By Rev. Thomas Anderson, S.J., assistant director of Campus Ministry

Each year, as November neared, the postcards piled in to Campus Ministry. People remembering, and asking us to remember, their beloved. I didn't understand. Then I recalled Manila:

Starting Oct. 31, people stormed the cemeteries. There, tents were set up. By candlelight, families gathered. Most shared a meal. Some had huge Paschal-like candles; others amazing floral arrangements so many orchids. Still others played cards. One family's structure looked like an Egyptian pyramid complex. Those with battery packs watched TV. Under the tents, but also in open air, lay mats where entire families slept. Many would spend the next two nights with their dead. On the road through the cemetery, vendors set up booths: Chowking, balot, roasted peanuts, barbecued pork. Impromptu shacks to sell food, but also flowers and candles. Traffic was backed up for miles.

How do we honor our dead? At Marquette, the prayer requests roll in. Would you like your loved one to be remembered at Mass in St. Joan of Arc Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Family or Church of the Gesu? Community members are invited to submit the names of deceased loved ones.

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