McCOOK (SNR) - November is the month set aside by the Church to remember those who have died. For nearly two decades, parishioners at St. Patrick Parish in McCook have prayed for and honored their deceased loved ones each November with a special Book of Remembrance.
It’s a simple but beautiful concept that is practiced in various parishes all over the world. Every year, parish secretary Kathy Casper chooses some upscale paper and places it in a thin, black binder.
"We usually set it up on one of the side altars with the candles always burning," she said. "It’s nice and accessible for our parishioners."
A red rose or some other special adornment adds to the shrine-like setting.
Then, parishioners are invited to write the names of deceased friends and relatives in the book. The Book of Remembrance remains available throughout the month of November, so parishioners can continually add names to the lined pages.
During Masses in November, Father Gary Brethour, pastor, or one of the other priests serving the parish will recall those listed in the Book of Remembrance within the Eucharistic Prayer: "Remember, Lord, your servants ____, and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you."
At the end of the month, Mrs. Casper will remove the pages and destroy them. The black binder will be set aside for next November.
The Book of Remembrance is a popular devotion at St. Patrick Parish, where praying for other souls is an important part of how the parish practices the Catholic faith. Mrs. Casper said the hundreds of votives that flicker within St. Patrick’s sanctuary at any given time is a testimony to this.
As soon as she finds some attractive paper, Casper will have the book ready for this year.
"People are asking for it already," she said last week.
Casper said she hopes that many other parishes will start a Book of Remembrance of their own. She noted that it’s a little difficult to see the "fruit" of praying for those who have gone on before us, but she is confident of the positive results of the project.
"Personally, it gives you a peaceful feeling," she said.