All Souls' Day Reflection

John Paul II Reflects on Meaning of Life

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2003 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today, All Souls Day, before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. After celebrating the feast of All Saints yesterday, Nov. 2, our prayerful gaze turns to those who have left this world and are waiting to reach the heavenly City. The Church has always exhorted to pray for the dead. She invites believers to look upon the mystery of death not as the last word on human fate, but as the passage toward eternal life. “While the dwelling of this earthly exile is destroyed,” we read in today’s Preface, “an eternal habitation is prepared in heaven.”

2. It is important and proper to pray for the dead because, even if they died in grace and in friendship with God, perhaps they still have need of a further purification to enter into the joy of heaven (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1030). Intercession for them is expressed in various ways, among which is also a visit to the cemetery. To visit these holy places is a propitious occasion to reflect on the meaning of earthly life and to nourish, at the same time, hope in the blessed eternity of Paradise.

May Mary, Gate of Heaven, help us never to forget or to lose sight of the heavenly homeland, final goal of our pilgrimage on earth.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted the pilgrims as follows:]

I greet cordially the pilgrims who have come to recite with us the prayer of the Angelus, which we offered for the dead, in particular, the most forgotten.

I wish all of you here present a good Sunday!

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