That’s me, of course. While I’m proud to be a Quaker and a member of Old Chatham Monthly Meeting, I’ve never renounced my status as one of the Catholic Faithful. If I were to go to confession, some priests would consider my Quakerism to be a sin while others would find it quite all right. Surprisingly, I still cherish the Catholic Mass and can even recite the Nicene Creed without guilt (although I must give the Creed a “Quaker interpretation”).
One Catholic Holy Day that I like to celebrate is All Saints’ Day on November 1, followed by All Souls’ Day on the second. In Mexico this period is called el Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. During this time, many Mexicans spend a night at the grave site of deceased family members. Candles light the way for the departed souls to return to Earth for a visit. Their loved ones will have brought their favorite foods and decorated their tombstones with cempasúchil (marigold) flowers. And the day is celebrated in Mexico joyfully with parties, skull face paintings, and skeleton toys for the kids.
During this November 1-2, I want to follow the Catholic custom of remembering the dead by praying for my mother, Mary Jo, and my grandfather, Joe Adams, as well as my friends—David and Rosemary Parker. May they all find joy, peace, and blessedness in the Light of the Eternal Presence!
When I die, I probably won’t be remembered on November 1 or 2; but surely Old Chatham Meeting will hold a memorial service for me, much like el Día de los Muertos. But—to repeat—even though I’m a Quaker, I’m also a member of “one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” After all, we Quakers belong to a Society, not exactly a church.
~ Richard Russell
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