Such good things can happen
to people who learn to remember.
~ Emily Dickenson


Introduction:   October 31st —Halloween, the Celtic festival of Samhain, and the feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day on the Christian calendar, each invites us to draw near to the thin veil that separates us from those who have gone before us.  Let us invite these beloved spirits to be with us, recalling in memory and gratitude the persons whom we most wish to remember and thank.



        The Beads of Life, Nancy Wood

The space between events is where

most of life is lived. Those half-remembered moments

of joy or sadness, fear or disappointment, are merely

the beads of life strung together

to make one expanding necklace of experience.


The space between events is where

we grow old. From sunrise to sunset one day lives

as another day emerges from the fluid womb of dawn,

the first bead strung upon

the everlasting thread of life.


Song: “Candles in the Night,” (CD: Ever With You, Jan Phillips)

We miss you since you left us, though we’re glad you’ve been set free;

The light of you is still around,  it’s right here in the breeze.

There’s so much left to share with you,  we’ll find another way

to keep you in our hearts from day to day.

Your spirit’s here inside us, like candles in the night,

so take your wings and fly into the light.  (2x)

You had your share of pain, it never took you by surprise;

you bore it like a warrior though you cried behind your eyes.

We watched you break the darkness, while you longed

for brighter days, and now you’re gone, we bless you on your way.

Your spirit’s here inside us, like candles in the night,

so take your wings and fly into the light.  (2x)

Everywhere you went you scattered kindness and delight.

If ever you encountered wrong, you turned it into right;

the music of your life will be forever in our ears.

The symphony of you will last for years

Your spirit’s here inside us, like candles in the night,

so take your wings and fly into the light.  (2x)


Reading  (Gold in Your Memories, Macrina Wiederkehr)

Gold is a mineral that, like the other precious treasures of the earth, needs to be mined. There are times when, with a careful eye, gold nuggets can be found on the earth’s surface, but ordinarily finding the gold requires some digging.

There are times when the gold in our memories also needs to be mined. Some of the treasures in our lives are not always accessible to the heart’s memory. As we learn to pay attention to life we discover there is a lot of gold hidden in plain sight. However, sometimes it takes something jarring and life-threatening to awaken us to this truth.

How can you remember the gold so it can continue to bless you today? First of all, you will have to acknowledge its presence in your life. It is difficult to search for something you don’t believe in. Secondly, you will need to spend a lot of time with your soul. The soul thrives on remembering. Feed it memories and it comes alive. And it will help you to recall more memories if you show even the slightest interest in remembering.

There is a way that the soul can get crowded out of one’s day. The soul is a bit shy and does not demand center stage. She lives a life of her own, and yet there are soulprints in every fiber of your being, even in the things you’ve forgotten. The soul is the keeper of memories. She knows where the beauty is stored. She contains the memories of your entire life. Deep in your unconscious she stands guard. If you are in need of a particular memory she can reveal it to you and help you to bear both the beauty and the pain. She knows all about the gold in your memories.



Ancestors, Mentors, Companions, Friends and Shapers of Our Hearts…. Who are the heroes and heroines in your life…the teachers, the guides, the special ones who influenced the way you live now?

  • Whose wisdom has been a central guide along the way?
  • Who stood by you in a troublesome time?
  • Whose spirituality or theology influenced your own?
  • Who brought you joy, laughter, delight?
  • What ancestor retains a special place in your life?


Faith Sharing on the above questions.


Closing Prayer  (Out of the Ordinary, Joyce Rupp)

God of our ancestors, today we gather to our hearts all those who have influenced our lives with their love and goodness. Although they have passed on to the other side of this life, their lives continue to affect who we are and what we do. Like the sound of a bell resounding in the welcoming air, so has the goodness of these holy ones resonated in our lives. Thank you for these ancestors and the bond we have with them.



Additional background information for this celebration of the ancestors

As millions of children and adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.

The family’s ancestors were honored and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. …Christianity incorporated the honoring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs.


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