Remembering those no longer with us

Stand still, pray, and remember those who are no longer with us.

All Saint’s Day is a special time. Thousands of us visit the graves of our loved ones, light candles, lay flowers and meet with family members. On the first day of November we dedicate our prayers to the martyrs and saints, whilst on the second day we focus on other people who have died - mostly souls residing in purgatory. However, let us also not forget about those who no longer have anyone to remember them.

According to the clergy, November 1st is one of the most joyous holidays celebrated by the Catholic Church. This is because it reminds us that all of us are called to holiness and we all have the chance to achieve it. On this day, prayer and liturgy are devoted to the demonstration of the strong relationship between life and death. Meanwhile, on Wednesday November 2nd, we mark All Soul’s Day, which is known as “Zaduszki” in Poland.

It is important to remember that these two days are meant to unite us a community of the faithful. If we notice a destroyed or neglected tombstone during our traditional walk through the cemeteries, let us pause for a moment and pray for the person laid to rest there. Just as when we see a spot dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers who died defending their homeland, such as the victims of totalitarianism or the Cursed Soldiers. Lit candles in such spots are proof that Poles are aware of their deep-rooted historical identity. Across the country, fundraising initiatives are taking place – the proceeds of which will go towards repairing damaged graves and caring for historical tombstones.

During these days it is also important to be particularly careful when driving on Polish roads.  The onset of autumn and increased traffic tends to push the number of accidents, some of them fatal, on this day to unacceptably high levels.  This year, “Operation Candle” will be staffed by over 20,000 policemen who will monitor speed levels, the sobriety of drivers as well as the technical condition of cars on the road.

Officials have also pointed out to the public that traffic movement in the vicinity of cemeteries will be subject to changes. As a result, they advise that some roads may be closed or made into one-way traffic flows, which is why it is worth using public transport during this holiday. In many Polish cities special bus services will be activated, bringing us to various cemeteries – often free of charge. However, if we decide that we really need to use a car then it is important to pay special attention to the road signs.


Source: Gazeta Polska Codziennie