“Pray for the forgotten,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus Address delivered for the Feast of All Souls.
In November, Catholics pray for the forgotten. We all want to be remembered. Some of us more than others.
My mother-in-law died on my daughter’s first birthday and my father-in-law died five years later on my niece’s sixth birthday. Once when I was relating this to someone, she profoundly observed, “Those people really want to be remembered!”
My in-laws were devoted Catholics. For me, as a convert, they were great role models. I watched my father-in-law change over the years and implement his faith. He could still be curmudgeonly, but for the most part, he was a different man from when I first met him.
When the doctors told us that my father-in-law didn’t have long to live, I called our parish and requested a priest. The priest didn’t drive so I picked him up in my car. When we arrived at the hospital, he looked at my father-in-law and said, “I know this man very well. He comes to me for confession every Saturday!”
Since my father-in-law usually attended Mass with my husband and I at 5 PM every Saturday, we were shocked. We had no idea that he was going to confession, coming home and then going to Mass with us.
My mother-in-law and I were both only children who had married into a large family. My mother-in-law had six kids and helped raise some of the grandchildren. She could be funny and joyful. She could also be stubborn.
One day, in attempt to get her out of the house, we argued. She refused to go out because it was icy and she was afraid of falling (she was always afraid of falling regardless of the weather). I finally left without her. When my husband came home from work, the first thing out of his mouth was, “How come you didn’t take my mom shopping with you?”
In her final months on earth, I witnessed a grace that I don’t think I’ll ever see again. She died a beautiful, quiet death with most of her family around her.
My in-laws are not people easily forgotten, but occasionally I will remember someone that I haven’t thought of in a long time and I realize I need to pray for them.
During the month of November, pray for those that you haven’t thought of in a long time. It’s part of our Catholic tradition.
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