By Colleen Rowan The month of November is a special time in which Catholics pray for their deceased loved ones. Special Masses, prayer services and gatherings at churches and Catholic cemeteries will be held throughout this month across the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. In November, the faithful pray for their loved ones, visit cemeteries, attend Masses, pray various devotions, chaplets to the dead, all souls, as well as the rosary. “The Catholic Church gives a focus for each month of the year. Some examples for the monthly focuses would be June for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, September for Our Lady of Sorrows and November would be for the holy souls that have gone before us,” said Rev. Mr. Doug Breiding, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries and director of Mount Calvary Cemetery in Wheeling. “The remembrance of those gone before us has been a long standing tradition in the church. The month begins with the Solemnity of All Saints, said Deacon Breiding, who is also permanent deacon at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling. This is a time, he said, to remember those who have led holy lives both by names known and unknown. The next day, the Feast of All Souls, the faithful remember those loved ones that have gone before them. “They are still a part of us,” Deacon Breiding said. “What they are now, we will be someday. Death is something that we should contemplate and evaluate how we are living, in light of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.” Purgatory, he said, is a place or state of purification for those free of mortal sin, but still in need of being purified. Catholics believe in praying for the souls in purgatory to assist in the purification process, and praying for loved ones who have gone before them. “We have and should have Masses said for our loved ones,” Deacon Breiding said, “as well as, keeping them in our regular prayers.” Because the focus of the month is on holy souls, all are encouraged to visit the cemeteries of their loved ones and say prayers for them. “It gives a sense of connection with those who have died,” Deacon Breiding said. “Sure they are ‘not there’ and yet physically there still is a proximal connection. It is a virtuous act to visit the cemeteries and reflect on what is truly important in life.” For those who can’t visit the cemetery where their loved ones are, Deacon Breiding said they can go to a local cemetery in their area and find a quiet place, remember their loved one and offer prayers for them and those in that cemetery. Catholic Cemetery Sunday is Nov. 4, and is a special day in which Catholics are encouraged to visit the graves of loved ones and to pray for them. For more information, one should contact his or her local Catholic cemetery.