Today, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, we honor our dead and pray for their souls. Prayers and Masses should be offered for the Church Suffering, always holding before us our own mortality and the four final things – Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven. The novena prayer today reminds us that we have been granted time to confess our sins – but who knows when that time will end? “This night thy soul shall be required of thee.”
"On this day is observed the commemoration of the faithful departed, in which our common and pious Mother the Church, immediately after having endeavored to celebrate by worthy praise all her children who already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her powerful intercession with Christ, her Lord and Spouse, all those who still groan in purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible the inhabitants of the heavenly city." — Roman Martyrology
Fish Eaters writes an in-depth article with customs, prayers, a recipe for SUGAR SKULLS, and excerpts from The Golden Legend.
Catholic Culture has more information and activities, including recipes like FAVE DEI MORTI (Beans of the Dead) and DRY BONES COOKIES.
On both sites is information regarding the indulgences available for this day and for the week following. Consider dedicating all of your prayers, rosaries and Masses in the month of November for the Holy Souls.
Woe to me, unhappy being! So many years have I already spent on earth and have earned naught but hell! I give Thee thanks, O Lord, for granting me time even now to atone for my sins. My good God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. Send me Thy assistance that I may apply the time yet remaining to me for Thy love and service; have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.
(Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.)
Wild celebrations are not in keeping with the tone of the day, anymore than would be on Memorial Day or the anniversary of a loved one's death, but nothing says we must mourn-without-ceasing all day, or that we must eat dust and ashes (or the equivalent). This is a family day. Many spend the day at the cemeteries where their loved ones are interred, cleaning the graves and putting fresh flowers on them, before sitting down to enjoy a picnic lunch. Of the traditional food of the day, Soul Cakes have been dealt with in a previous post – remember to offer up a prayer with each Soul Cake that you eat. UOVA IN PURGATORIO (Eggs in Purgatory) would be a suitable breakfast or lunch dish; for tea, enjoy the lovely Mexican sweet-bread called PAN DE MUERTO (Bread of the Dead).
UOVA IN PURGATORIO
You will need a large saute pan with a tight cover for this.
Split 1 clove of garlic and run a toothpick into each piece.
Mince 1 onion.
Mince thyme and basil to equal 1/2 teaspoon each. Mince parsley to equal 1 teaspoon.
Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and brown the garlic slowly. Add the minced onion and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of tomato sauce, the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove the garlic and discard.
Carefully break 8 eggs into the sauce, spacing them apart. Spoon the sauce over them, cover the pan, and cook the eggs slowly for about 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Meanwhile, toast 8 thin slices of French or Italian bread. When the eggs are done, carefully spoon them onto the toast slices with the sauce and top with a sprinkling of grated Romano cheese.
PAN DE MUERTO
There are several recipes online for the bread; this is one I found in an old magazine 30 years ago and have made every year:
Heat 1/4 cup of milk to boiling, stirring to prevent curdling; remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup of butter until melted, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside. (Keep mixture at about 110 degrees F.)
In a large bowl, mix 1 package of active dry yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water until dissolved; let stand 5 minutes. Slowly stir in warm milk mixture until well blended.
Separate 1 egg; reserve the white. Add the yolk and 1 whole egg to the milk/yeast mixture, then add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing well with each addition. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in bowl and turn the dough over to coat with oil; cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place until double, about 90 minutes. Grease a baking sheet.
Punch down dough, and turn out again onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth. Divide dough into fourths, setting one fourth aside. Roll the remaining pieces into ropes. Pinch one end of the three ropes together and braid them. Form the braided dough into a circle and pinch the opposite ends together. Place the circle on the greased baking sheet.
Divide remaining fourth of dough in half and roll each piece into a rope. Use scissors or a knife to slice the ends of each rope about 1/2 inch; spread the cut sections slightly apart to form the 'bones'. Cross the bones on top of the braided dough. Cover loaf with a dishtowel and let rise for about 30 minutes.
Now preheat the oven to 350 ° F. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon of anise seed, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of sugar, and reserve. In another bowl, beat the reserved egg white lightly. Brush the entire top of the bread with the egg white; sprinkle the sugar/spice mixture between the 'bones'. Bake for about 35 minutes or until done.
A slice of that, and a cup of hot chocolate beaten to a froth.... mmmmmm.