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 How to mark All Souls Day when it falls on Election Day


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Cecilia Pigg - published on 11/02/21

Your vote matters and your prayers count -- here's how to do both on November 2.

This year, I’m here to remind you that your vote matters, and your prayers count. Election day always falls on the first Tuesday of November, and All Souls Day always falls on November 2nd. This year, those two events coincide.

Here are 5 ways to mark the day — in chronological order … 

1. Make a list of everyone you know who has died, and whom you would like to remember on this All Souls Day.

Start with anyone close to you whom you miss. Then, think about your friends and family who have died in the past. Include the relatives you never got a chance to meet, but whom you have heard about. Think about people you know whose loved ones have died recently. Write down all of these names on a piece of paper to make the list more tangible, and to help it stay with you in your memory throughout the day. If you live with a roommate or family, consider making a list together. Reminiscing and talking about the names you write down is cathartic and helpful in the grieving process.  

2. Research your local elections and see who is running for different government positions.

Decide who you’re going to vote for. Remember that your local elections influence your daily life and community directly, so it is important to make time for them. You can help choose your mayor, the members of your school board, and other local officials. Find more information about your local United States election here

3. Schedule two times in plans for the day.

First of all, find a time to pray for the deceased. You can use a list like the one mentioned above, and either sit at home with it, or maybe go to a church and light a candle. If you can fit Mass in, prioritize that as your prayer time. Here are some prayers that you can use for those who have died. Of course, you don’t have to use a formal prayer; you can always talk to God using your own words. Secondly, find a time to go to the polls. That might mean a lunch break voting session, or heading to your local polling place before or after work.  

4. While you are in line at the polls, thank God for the gift of the people’s lives who are on your list.

Think about memories you had with them or with the people close to them. Remembering your loved ones can help you as you continue to grieve and process, whether it has been months or years since they have passed. 

5. As a way to get moving and to get outside today, consider taking a prayerful walk at a cemetery close to your house.

As a reminder, it is a spiritual work of mercy to pray for the dead. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are ways to love and serve your neighbor, so take advantage of the day, and love your neighbors who are being purified before seeing God face to face for eternity. 

All Souls Day and Election Day won’t coincide again until Tuesday, November 2, 2027. Jesus, please guide our elected officials, help them lead in your truth and uphold your law. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon them. Amen. 

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