By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — On Friday, the Catholic Church celebrated All Souls Day, a time to remember loved ones who have died and to pray that their souls get to Heaven.
To mark the event, churches around the county held special Masses. In Snohomish, 21 parishioners from Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Immaculate Conception churches, both in Everett, attended a special Mass held at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery.
Part of the reason for holding Mass in the cemetery, the Rev. Bryan Hersey said, is to recognize that cemeteries are places for prayer and worship. Pop culture has turned them into places associated with horror movies.
The cemetery is owned by the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
According to the Catholic faith, canonized people are the only souls known to be in Heaven. The rest could be there or in purgatory, said Hersey, pastor of Everett’s Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishes.
“Purgatory is to purify the souls, so they are better prepared to be in Heaven. We believe our prayers help them,” Hersey said.
The focus of All Souls Day is God’s forgiveness, Hersey said.
“If we don’t trust in the mercy of God, we don’t have anything,” he said.
Hersey has held Mass at the cemetery for five years.
All Souls Day is a day after All Saints Day, which honors all known and unknown saints.
“It was a logical step to follow (All Saints Day) by remembering those souls that are in purgatory,” said the Rev. Phillip Bloom, of Saint Mary of the Valley Catholic Church in Monroe. The Monroe church on Friday held two special Masses, which are usually more crowded than the daily Masses, he said.
Parishioner Frank Marchi, 77, who attended the Snohomish Mass, said the day helps him better appreciate the work of God.
“God’s work is in all people, including those who have passed away,” he said.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.