Annual September Mass for the Deceased

September 6, 2011

On September 6, 2011 the Dominican House of Studies in Washington D.C. celebrated the annual mass for deceased benefactors and familiars of the Dominican Order.1

According to the Book of Constitutions and Ordinations of the Order of Preachers, all priests are required to celebrate one mass for deceased brothers, sisters, familiars, and benefactors between All Souls Day and the beginning of Advent. But there is also a particular mass that is offered specifically for the souls of those who have died and given aid to the friars preachers, whether financial or spiritual (LCO 70).

The Dominican charism strongly emphasizes offering prayers and suffrages for its own members as well as though associated with the Order. Besides the anniversary mass described above, the friars preachers also offer a weekly mass for the souls of their deceased benefactors and familiars, as well as for their own brethren. Every friar also offers at least one rosary every week for the same intention.

Fr. Austin Litke, O.P, the celebrant of the liturgy, spoke of a “relationship of justice” that is established between friars and their benefactors. The Dominican friars offer their penances and suffrages to their benefactors so that these men and women may after death “see God face to face…as He is” (1 Jn 3:2). At the same time, Fr. Austin spoke of the need for the friars to “ask for a greater share of the grace of the Holy Spirit” in order to stay faithful in their preaching and in their life of poverty. By living out their charism through the Spirit’s lead, the friars hope that at their judgment Christ will call them as well to “inherit the kingdom prepared for [them] from the foundation of the world” (Mt. 25:34).

1 Usually celebrated on the 5th of September, the mass was postponed by one day due to the placement of Labor Day this year.

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