Catholics in the River Parish area celebrate All Saint’s Day

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 6, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE-Catholic parishioners of Ascension of Our Lord and St. Joan of Arc churches gathered Wednesday at St. John Memorial Gardens for the Blessing of the Graves.

The blessing of the graves is an annual event held on November 1 known as All Saint’s Day by the Catholic Church.

Early traditions of All Saint’s Day included mowing the grass around a loved one’s grave and cleaning the tombstones.

Today many cemeteries have caretakers to do grave maintenance and tombstones are usually marbleized rather than just set in stone.

However, it is still traditional to bring flowers to the graves and to have priests bless the graves and sprinkle them with holy water.

Bonnie Ragas, wife of the late Gene Ragas said, &#8220This is a day when I can honor my husband’s memory and pray for his soul this special day of All Saint’s.” Gene Ragas was a Vietnam veteran.

Steve and Peggy Cupit were there to honor the memory of their son who died at the young age of 18.

&#8220It is still hard even though it’s been a number of years since his death but in our hearts we know he is with the lord,” Peggy said.

&#8220All Saint’s Day is a wonderful time for a family to come together and remember their loved ones. It is a beautiful tradition that many young people don’t know about or observe anymore,” she said.

Cupit said she remembers when All Saint’s Day was an all-day affair when families would all come to scrub the graves and pray.

&#8220I am pleased that the Blessing of the Graves is being done on All Saint’s Day this year since it is usually done sometime before November 1. I like coming here to the cemetery and taking comfort in knowing that our family and friends are in a better place,” said Hazel Tamplain.

She comes to remember her husband and other family members often.

&#8220We pray for our dead and they pray for us, that’s how it works,” said Helen Brignac. &#8220They are gone, but not lost to us,” she said.

The souls of the dead cannot do anything on their own, so we pray for them if they are in purgatory and with our prayers we can help them into heaven where they then pray for us,” she said.

Catholics also pray for souls already in heaven in hope that they will watch over the living by and to cherish their memories.

The blessing of the graves recognizes the members of the church who are in heaven and is a symbol of resurrection for the bodies of souls in heaven.