*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Out of the question: Prayer for all souls

by
14 January 2009

Your answers

All Souls’ Day intercessions in church seem to dwell on the family and friends of the congregation. Do your readers know of prayers that encompass all souls, including the forgotten and the neglected?

All Souls’ Day follows from the division of the Church into three. The “Church Militant here in earth” has been prayed for during every Anglican Communion service since the Reformation. All Saints’ is speci­fically concerned in an all-inclusive way with those in the heavenly communion of saints who have not been recognised in any lists.

A growing belief that when we die unfinished business remains, not least in preparing for the perfection of God’s presence, has led to an increasing observance of All Souls’ Day in Anglican churches. Other biblical passages support this con­cept: I suggest 1 Corinthians 3.12-15 and 2 Timothy 1.18. This means that prayer on that day should be directed primarily not as the ques­tioner suggests, but at the process of preparation of the de­ceased for heaven.

The questioner has probably experienced the kind of service that is increasingly common, to which the relatives of those who have had funerals in the previous year are invited, and churchgoers are asked to list the names of those that they would like to have remembered.

Since intercessions today are relatively informal, there is no reason why prayers for the forgotten and negelected should not be in­cluded by the minister.
Christopher Haffner (Reader)
East Molesey, Surrey

In the Carmelite Holy Souls Society’s Daily Prayers for the Holy Souls, the prayer for Sunday says: “Almighty God, I ask you by the Precious Blood which your divine Son shed in the garden to deliver all the faithful departed; and especially that soul which is most forsaken of all: bring it into your glory where it may praise and bless you for ever.”

It is worth mentioning that the Anglican Church has its own Guild of All Souls, and I have the Anglican side of my family all on prayer lists for the faithful departed. Further information from: the Guild of All Souls, St Katharine Cree Church, 86 Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3DH (phone 020 7621 0098); or see www.guildofallsouls.org.uk.
Declan J. Lucey
London NW3

It is worth mentioning that the Anglican Church has its own Guild of All Souls, and I have the Anglican side of my family all on prayer lists for the faithful departed. Further information from: the Guild of All Souls, St Katharine Cree Church, 86 Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3DH (phone 020 7621 0098); or see www.guildofallsouls.org.uk.
Declan J. Lucey
London NW3

Our attention has been drawn to a prayer in the Oxford Movement Centenary Prayer Book (Church Literature Association, 1933): “Have mercy, O Lord, upon the souls which have no especial intercessors with thee, nor any hope save that they were created after thine own image; who from age, or poverty, or the un­belief or negligence of their friends, are forgotten and whose day of de­parture is never remem­bered.”

Also to the Litany for the Dead, in the same book, in which one of the petitions is: “That it may please thee to remember and show mercy unto all the faithful departed who are not held in special memory upon earth, We beseech thee to hear us.”

Editor

Your questions

The Christ the King edition of the BBC’s Songs of Praise featured two churches, one very beautiful, but neither named in the programme credits. Which were they, and why is this not done?

S. H.

letters@churchtimes.co.uk

Christmas Subscription Offer

Treat friends and family to a gift subscription this year.

We’ll send a Christmas card announcing your gift and your choice of free book:
Reading the Bible With Your Feet by Lucy Winkett
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? 
by Dave Walker

Choose a gift subscription

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)