02 November 2021

Helping those who've gone before us

Today is the feast of All Souls, or The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, as my missal has it. It's a special day in the Church calendar dedicated to trying to help those we've loved, and even those we've conspicuously failed to love, and so many who we've never known, to make their way towards God and towards becoming who they were truly created to be.

The word 'Purgatory' may not appear in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean the doctrine isn’t there, readily drawn out from references to prayers that help the dead, to how nothing imperfect can enter heaven and a fire that purifies us after death, and to a prison where souls go till their debts are paid. Just as it’s for the Blessed in Heaven to pray for us, so it is for us, then, to visit those souls in prison but guaranteed to share in the Blessed Vision, praying for those destined for heaven that they may more quickly reach the top of Dante’s mountain of hope. Having done the Camino de Santiago, and even the three-day pilgrimage at St Patrick's Purgatory at Lough Derg, I have a better sense nowadays than I used to have of how we're all in this together, and obliged to pull together to help each other to the finishing line. 

With that in mind, then, I have a lot of people to pray for today, just as I hope lots of people, here or up above, are praying for me, since we all need each other's help.

Many of these, I'm sure, don't need any prayers at all, but it certainly can't hurt, and I want to start by calling to mind all those I can remember who've been lost to us over the past year, starting with my mam, Veronica Daly, who we lost at Christmas, and my cousin Susan Daly Stanek, who died following an accident in America just a few months later. If they need any help at all, I do hope my prayers will give that, in whatever meagre way they can.

I pray for Molly O'Callaghan, the heart of Palmerstown; for Ollie Cosgrave, who mended my boots more times than I care to remember and who gave me two good friends and workmates, one sadly no longer with us; for Ultan Sinclair, a neighbour taken far too soon; for Matt Garrigan, the finest line manager I've ever had; for Nora Hanrahan, who I hope will join Joe in a blissful eternity; for Paschal Dunne, who I hope will likewise be joined with his wife Angela and daughter Susan; and for Denis Keating OP and George Kiely, who both stood by me at times when I needed true support.

I pray for Francis Kennedy, Sean Forde, and Anne Fitzgerald, all taken in the great Covid wave early this year; I pray for Ned's mum Maura Hughes, Tadhg and Mick's dad Frank Coakley, John's dad Gerry Duffy, Eamonn's dad Packie McGarty, Claire's mam Cis O'Brien, Jason's mum Marlene Crowley, Jean's dad Kevin Callaghan, William's dad Billy Callaghan, Sophie's dad Johnny von Pfluegl, and Neasa's aunt Marie Doyle.

I pray too for Sr Margarita Schwind OP; for Dawn Foster, who I hope to meet in the afterlife since I failed so miserably to do so in this one; for Dan's wife Naima Jackson; for Mike's sister Katie Lewis; and for Steve Greydanus's father Robert.

Ending the list of those lost to us here this year are Francis Benedict Pyles and Margaret Mary Hill, neither of whom is in need of any prayers; instead I ask that their heavenly prayers will help those they leave behind, and all those who can look to them. 


I pray today for Nana and Grandad, all the Dodds, Auntie Maureen, Valerie McKenna, my cousins Philip, David, and Lily; for Auntie Brenda, Auntie Kathleen, Great Auntie Mary, my cousins Janet and Michael, and Richard; for my uncle John, for Mam's parents, for aunt Doreen, and for Monica.

I pray for Mary and Paddy Hoare, for Mr Harwood, for Mr and Mrs McCourt, for Mrs Carrigan and for Michael Carrigan, for Mr Gahan, for Mr and Mrs Reeves, for John Ryan, Mick Doyle, Mr Lyons, Jim Freeman, Mrs Gibson, Mr and Mrs and Bernie Flanagan, Mrs Mannelly, Mr Doyle, Elizabeth Kenny, and Matt and Clare O’Reilly.

I pray for Johnny McGrath, Delores Spittal, Dick Molumby, Frank Beggan, and Dessie Breen; for Joe Hanrahan, Dave Leavy, Frank and Mrs Towey, Jack Farrelly, Shay Lord, Jim Skerritt, David Fitzgerald, and Gary Kennedy from the Silver Granite; for Mary Ward; for Tom Corr, Sean Mitchell, Eamon Woulfe, Liam Glynn, Padraic Naughton, and Bro. John Hyland from Moyle Park.

I pray for Gavan Nugent, Padraic Ryan, Anthony Desmond, Sean Kenny, Paul Brown, Conn Murphy, Marie Plisnier, Agueda Pons, Michelle Cosgrave, Kathleen Griffin, and Susan Dunne; for Julie Yipp and Kevin Hunneybell from my Camino, and for Francis McKenzie from my visit to Peru.

I pray for Val Grant, Alex Walker, Theresa MacDonagh, Gerard McCarthy, and Alan Gilbert from the University of Manchester; and for John, Kathleen Bibby, Mary McFaul, John and Agnes Ainsworth, and Kate Gregg from Wilmslow.

I pray for Sr Mary David Totah; for Fr Con Curley, Fr Gerard Byrne, Fr Flo Lynch; for Fr David Lumsden and Fr Martin Ryan; for Fr Tom Heneghan; for Fr Simon Roche OP, Fr Martin McCarthy OP, Fr Dermot Brennan OP, and Fr Bob Talty OP.

I pray for Jenny Daly, and Sr Agnes, and Helen, and all the other ladies from Mam's nursing home.

I pray for Fritz Schult from Pollatomish; for Steve's wife Ruth Southall; for Sarah's grandad Alan Martindale; for Laura's grandad Tony Adams; for Christopher's mum Mary Dawson; for Michael's mother Ann Kelly; for Colum's dad Joe Keating, for Aidan Higgins' father Colin, for the fathers of Daron Higgins, Claire O’Brien, Lucy Corcoran, Dara Gantley, Blaithin Ni Giolla Rua, Martin Brady, and Bridget Martin; for Breda Polly and Tom Crotty; and for Polly and Dan’s friends Will Scott and Dominic Crisp.

I pray for the souls of all those dear to those I love, for the souls of all those dear to me, and for the souls of all those whose names and faces I have forgotten. 

May the Lord God almighty have mercy on their souls, and may his perpetual light shine upon them; may they rest in peace.


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