Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Special: 5 Interesting Facts on Catholic Death. Episode 4 - First Anniversary Masses

As mentioned below, the Church holds the anniversary of death to be an especially important time for those who remain behind to mourn the loss of a loved one.

Believe it or not, the Church places a GIGANTIC emphasis on the FIRST Anniversary of death, even more so than other anniversaries of death.

The "First Anniversary of Death" is such an important time, pastorally speaking, that the Church allows a "Mass for the Dead" (where the person's name is mentioned 4 times throughout the Mass) virtually any day of the year.

The Roman Missal notes that:

"[A] Mass for the Dead, [on] the first anniversary, may be celebrated even on days within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, on days when an Obligatory Memorial occurs, and on weekdays other than Ash Wednesday or the weekdays of Holy Week."

That means that a "Mass for the Dead" can be celebrated on any day outside of solemnities and feasts.  The first anniversary Mass can be celebrated during the weekdays of Advent and Lent and also during the Christmas and Easter season. 

That is a HUGE statement by the Church, and it is quite clear what the Church is saying: "The first anniversary is a time when the passing of a loved one is especially vivid, and so a Mass to pray for the deceased on that first anniversary is allowed on virtually any day in the Church's calendar."

Again, this is the Church being pastoral and reaching out to people, so it is sad to see that most parishes do not extend this to parishioners as an option. 

Again, it is much more pastoral for the loved ones left behind to have the Mass prayed for the deceased, as opposed to simply seeing them in the bulletin as the Mass intention.

Finally, the same thing applies to the first anniversary Mass with regards to vestment color - a person should be able to request that the priest wear either black, white, or violet.