From The Very Rev. Kristina Maulden
As we near the end of October, the air turns cooler, the sky turns a brighter blue, and our thoughts turn to the Feast of All Saints’ Day. Well, our thoughts should turn to All Saints’ Day, but the world outside of church focuses more on Halloween and football. Yet, those living in New Mexico have an added emphasis that brings us back to All Saints’ – that of the Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos. You might have encountered private altars called ofrendas, which honor those who have died using marigolds, small trinkets, and favorite foods of the departed. The holiday lasts three days: Oct 31st to Nov 2nd, and is intended for a time and place for family and friends to gather and remember those who have died. This coincides with the Western Christian tradition of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
This year at the Cathedral of St. John, we will be creating our own version of an ofrenda. We will be assembling memories on an Altar of Remembrance in the Chapel of the Beloved Disciple. For the next couple of weeks, everyone is invited to bring to the altar a picture of those loved ones who have gone on to heaven. There will also be blank paper crosses and butterflies provided by the altar in the Chapel on which you may write names. All the names of these significant people will be blessed on All Saints’ Day, which we will celebrate on Sunday, November 3rd. They will also be remembered on All Souls’ Day at the Service of Psalms and Remembrance, Saturday, November 2nd at 10:30am.
As a culture, those of us in the United States tend to shy away from death. It makes many of us uncomfortable to talk about death or dying. We also are awkward around people who have suffered loss and are grieving. But, we hold on to a great hope. We hold on to resurrection and restoration. We look to the day when we will all be together again. Knowing this, even if you do not have the words for someone who is grieving, it is still important to be there. Offer to bring food or help with errands. Let them know you are praying for and with them. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses-the living and the dead-not so far apart as we would think.