November arrived with All Saints on Saturday (squeezed into the 8:30AM Mass) and All Souls on Sunday. Monday afternoon arrived with news of the death of an aunt. We traveled to South Georgia for the funeral on Thursday. My dad has a large family — five sisters and three brothers. Actually, a sixth sister who died in infancy. Her little grave is to the left of my grandparents. Sometimes I wonder about the aunt I never got to know. Another of my dad’s sisters passed away several years ago. I watched my dad and his siblings bury their parents years ago. It is another thing to watch my dad, aunts, and uncles attend to the burial of each other. There are other seriously ill relatives. I try not to think of who will not be at next year’s family reunion. Only God knows these things.
On the day my aunt was buried, the Archdiocese of Atlanta buried a beloved priest – Msgr. Thomas Kenny – Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King. [Update 11/15: This week’s Georgia Bulletin has posted a special edition for the funeral of Msgr. Kenny. Check it out here. Though I am not a parishioner at the Cathedral, I have fond memories of Msgr. Kenny from the 7PM Sunday Mass — I have several friends who attend that Mass. I would sometimes attend that Mass and visit with friends afterwards.]
Last night I dreamed of attending Mass and all the liturgical vestments were black. In my dream, I was taking a picture of the vestments. I’m sure it is because I’ve been researching a bit on vestments and browsing the various web sites. I had been reading on the USCCB web site about approved colors in the United States — ” Besides violet, white or black vestments may be worn at funeral services and at other Offices and Masses for the Dead in the Dioceses of the United States of America.” In my dream, even the young altar servers were wearing black — everyone with any part of the Mass was wearing black. It was a sight for sure.
The Thursday Nov. 6 edition of the Georgia Bulletin included information regarding Catholic funeral rites. Read the Georgia Bulletin article here. This is another reminder to me that I should somewhere write down my funeral wishes. Aside from a Catholic funeral, there are other considerations. As a Secular Franciscan, we are permitted a special Franciscan Wake service. While we do not wear habits other than a Tau cross, we are permitted to be buried in a special shroud.
So, this is what has been on my mind this week. Appropriately so as we are at the end of the liturgical year. Nightly we pray—
May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.–Amen
Franciscan Resources Burial Shroud