Lighting up for All Souls’ at St Patrick’s Boorowa
St Patrick’s in Boorowa wanted to do something a little different for All Souls’ Day this year.
The plan initially had been to celebrate Mass at the town’s local cemetery, an hour and a half’s drive northwest of Canberra.
But when the weather prevented this, they went back inside to St Patrick’s, Boorowa’s historic 150-year-old blue granite and sandstone Catholic church.
Yet a special moment still eventuated when Fr Jiss Sunny, assisted by Deacon Pat Whale, invited the faithful to come forward and light candles in remembrance of deceased family and friends.
“We’d never done this before,” parishioner Maria Adams told the Catholic Voice. “It was really beautiful the way it was all set off.”
Asked what the day meant for her, long-time resident Frances Brewer said it was about “praying for our family and friends that have gone before us. It’s for all the suffering souls in purgatory and all the lost souls.”
For Mark Dwyer, who’s lived in Boorowa his whole life, the day was also significant. “I lost my parents and brother; that’s why I am here today.”
Similarly, Tina McGrath and her husband Dermot, All Souls was for remembering the many family members who had gone before them.
Tina said her family had lived in Boorowa for generations. “You know, it’s just a really important day to us and our Irish ancestors,” she said.
During his homily, Fr Jiss shared the story of a parishioner who kept a photo of his father as a “constant compassionate companion” in his life.
This had meaning for all of us, he suggested.
That’s what it means today when you light up a candle for them [our deceased loved ones],” he said. “They’re a constant compassionate companion in our lives”.
And in the Archdiocese’s ‘Year of Walking Together’, “you are a constant companion in someone’s life too,” he said.