NEW BRITAIN – Despite record-shattering snowfall, members of Sacred Heart Parish placed candles and flowers on the graves of their beloved dead as part of the annual All Saints/All Souls Day March for Life and Cemetery Mass Oct. 30.
Although the annual procession and Mass at the cemetery were cancelled, Msgr. Daniel Plocharczyk, pastor of Sacred Heart, concelebrated Mass with priests from Sacred Heart, Holy Cross and other local parishes. Before the Mass, Msgr. Plocharczyk led parishioners in a procession through the church, stopping five times to pray for the deceased.
Since the beginning of Christianity, Catholics have maintained a tradition of praying for the dead on All Souls Day (Nov. 2). The parish continues the tradition by visiting cemeteries, decorating graves, attending Mass and bringing a list of their loved ones to the church for a prayer that is read aloud and placed on the altar for the month of November.
It is a Polish tradition to light candles and visit the graves of relatives on All Souls Day. Lighted candles are meant to signify the everlasting nature of the love, hope and joy that the late individual shared with the people left behind.
Msgr. Plocharczyk estimated that the celebration at Sacred Heart Parish has been going on since the beginning of the parish 117 years ago, and said crowds of 3,000 to 4,000 have attended in the past.