The “month’s mind” is a tradition still practiced in Ireland. Basically, when a loved one has passed, a requiem Mass is celebrated one month after the passing. And, the family usually gathers together after the Mass for tea and words of remembrance for the loved one.
I, for one, love this idea of family coming together to remember and celebrate the “one who is no longer with us”. And, I don’t believe we have to wait for someone to pass away to celebrate them when they are not with us. For example, in my Star O’Brien series, Maggie O’Malley always lights three candles whenever she is in a church. She tells Star that the third candle is for the “one who is not with us”.
My County Mayo born mother passed away in August at the age of 92. Although we live in the United States, I recall that my mom had a Mass said for my father thirty days after he passed away. The house was filled with family and friends of my parents, enjoying a meal and a drink in his memory. And, in August when my mother passed away, her nephews, nieces, and cousins in County Mayo had a Mass said in her memory. And, with today’s technology, my brothers and I, here in the US, were able to join in the celebration using Church TV. The Reverend Chas Guthrie celebrated the Mass in the parish where my mother attended church with her parents when she was a child. And, something that Father Chas said during his sermon has stayed with me, “…with memories we have roses in December”.
In our hectic world and life, it can be so easy to forget those who came before us. I guess that’s why I like this tradition of the month’s mind — to not forget, to hold their memory close to our hearts. And, to celebrate our loved one’s life. I know I am so proud of my parents and the life they created for me. And, if God allows, I will always have roses in December.
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