Pope Visits Roman Cemetery on All Saints’ Day to Pray for Dead, Bless Graves

Francis Credit Tania Rego Agencia BrasilROME — Pope Francis visited a cemetery in Rome last Friday in observance of the Roman Catholic holiday All Saints’ Day to pray for the dead and bless the graves of the departed.

The occasion marked 20 years since a pope had visited a Roman cemetery for All Saints’ Day, and according to reports, Francis states that he plans to make his visit a tradition during his tenure.

He celebrated mass on Friday morning, delivering a message to all gathered, and asking the dead saints to pray for those who remain.

“The saints who stand before the face of the Lord, pray for us, for this our city, and for the whole world, that everywhere the peace of Christ may shine brightly,” he said. “He is our peace and eternal life.”

Francis also offered a prayer himself for the dead, which was followed by a “blessing of the graves,” according to the Italian publication RomaSette.

Francis had visited the tomb of John Paul II the day before, located inside St. Peter’s Basilica, and prayed silently. He also went to pay his respects to John XXIII and St. Pius X.

On Saturday, Francis visited the Vatican Grotto, where a number of other popes are buried, and engaged in a private time of prayer for his predecessors. He is expected to observe mass today in memory of the Catholic bishops and cardinals that have died over the past year.

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But some are expressing concern over the Pope’s observances, which they state are not found in Scripture.

“Prayers for the dead are useless and unbiblical because it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel told Christian News Network, citing Hebrews 11:27. “In other words, when people die they are immediately transferred to Heaven or Hell.”

“The determining factor is their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ at the moment of death,” he continued. “Was He their merciful Savior who forgave their sins, or a righteous Judge who condemned them to the eternal lake of fire?”

Gendron said that for this same reason, attempting to bless a grave is pointless and unavailing, and stated that the Pope has no power to bless anyone. Gendron noted that there have been concerning practices surrounding All Saints’ Day for hundreds of years, and that these practices were among the factors that sparked the Protestant Reformation.

“The Catholic Church has been venerating the relics (bone fragments) of saints on All Saints’ Day for over 500 years,” he explained. “This is why Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the door of the Castle Church on Oct. 31, the day before All Saints’ Day. He knew Catholics would be seeking indulgences for the dead by going into the church to venerate over 1900 relics.”

“God’s word says, ‘No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him, for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever,'” Gendron added, pointing to Psalm 49:7-8.

Last month, for the Roman Catholic observance of Marian Day, Francis entrusted the world to Mary in front of 100,000 who gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He delivered a message adjacent to the “Our Lady of Fatima” statute, which had been transported from Lisbon. Video footage of the occasion shows Francis kissing the statue following its arrival at the square.

“Accept with the benevolence of a mother this act of entrustment that we make in faith today, before this your image, beloved to us,” he stated. “We are confident that each of us is precious in your sight. Guard our lives in your arms, bless and strengthen every desire for goodness.”

Photo: Tania Rego/Agencia Brasil

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  • Kenyon, it would be helpful if you could cite scripture on what you are telling us; otherwise, you seem to be coming up with your own conclusions and imaginations. Let the Word of God give us answers and not your opinions.

  • Webb

    All members of the “church” of Rome are are dead. (Spiritually)

  • JBP

    The Roman Pope is trying to pull off the WWJD act. Unfortunately for the Pope, he posses neither the spirit nor the grace of Jesus, and is going to fall short repeatedly, like any of us would. The Pope’s judgment, like ours, awaits him on the other side, not here.

    Of course we should pay attention to the Pope’s words and actions and consider if we feel the need to act accordingly, but again, the judgment of his behavior is not for us to perform.

    So, in summation, don’t unequivocally tell me the Pope is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Instead tell me why you might think or feel the same or otherwise.

  • jesseNOTW

    If people would just take the time to read the Bible…it’s incredible what they will learn…the “dead know nothing” its in every Bible…it’s amazing how people are so ignorant about scripture and ready to believe what any man will say without it being from scripture…

    • Annie

      It is so important to read and learn from God’s Word. Be a Berean, test what man says to see if is as God’s Word says. God cannot lie, therefore we must search His Word, and then we will know if what we are being told is in agreement with the Bible. If not familiar with His Word, one can easily be led astray.

  • The notion that the dead are still alive is taught by almost every religion. Only once is such an expression found in scripture –in Genesis 3:4, and take note of who said it! The apostle Paul tells us “If there is no resurrection, those who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Many more scriptures could be quoted. If anyone is seriously interested they can get a copy of Young’s or Strong’s concordance and check the occurrences of the Greek word:- psuche, which means soul. In about half of the occurrences the translators are forced to change it to ‘life.’ Jesus said: “Take no thought for your soul, what you shall eat…” Trust a concordance, not the teachers–the truth has nothing to fear from anyone.