(Taken from Notes Made at the Conferences of Dom Prosper Guéranger).
After this, follows another subject: Et unam, sanctam , catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. [And one, holy catholic and apostolic Church]
Observe, we do not say: I believe in the Church; we simply say, I believe the Church. Why is this? Because the faith which has God for its immediate object, is a movement of our soul towards God; she goes forth towards him, and rests in him; and thus, we believe IN GOD. But, as regards created and intermediate things which concern God, which help us to go to God, but are not God himself, - we simply believe them. Thus, for example, we believe the holy Church, which was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, and in whose bosom alone is there to be found salvation: I believe the Church: Credo Ecclesiam. In this Symbol, which is said in the Mass, this article of our faith is more fully expressed than in the Apostles' Creed, where we are taught to say simply: I believe the holy Catholic Church.
We declare then, first of all, that the Church is one: Credo unam Ecclesiam. In the Canticle of Canticles, we have our Lord himself calling her My ONE; - ONE is my Dove, my perfect one is but ONE (Cantic. vi. 8). - she is, moreover, Holy: Credo SANCTAM Ecclesiam. We hear the divine Spouse again saying in the same Canticle: My Love, my Dove, my Beautiful one ... there is not a spot in thee (Ibid. ii. 10; iv. 7). Writing to the Ephesians, St. Paul likewise says, that the Church which our Lord presented unto himself, is a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. ); therefore, the Church of Christ is Holy, there are no Holy ones, no Saints, but within her, and there are always Holy ones, Saints, within her. Moreover, being Holy, she cannot teach aught but the truth. - The Church is Catholic: Credo Ecclesiam Catholicam; that means, she is universal, because she is spread throughout the whole earth, and because she will continue to exist to the end of time; now both of these are included in the quality of catholicity. - Finally, she is Apostolic: Credo Ecclesiam Apostolicam. Yes, her existence dates from the commencement that is to say, she comes from our Lord Himself; she did not spring up all on a sudden when five, ten, or fifteen centuries had gone by, as was the case with Protestantism, for example; had she come thus tardily into being, she could not have come from our Lord. In order to her being the true Church, she must be Apostolic, that is, she must have a hierarchy which dates back even to the Apostles, and, by the Apostles, to our Lord Himself.
Thus, we believe the Church; and God wishes us to believe her to be One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: Et Unam, Sanctam, Catholicam, et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. We believe her, because she is founded upon these four essential Marks, which are the very meaning of her being called a Church of divine Institution, and she is proved to be that, by the very fact of her having those four Marks.
Masses for the Dead
In the Roman Missal, certain days are set apart for a special commemoration of the deceased. In addition to the Mass of Burial, also called the exsequial Mass, Masses on the third, seventh, and thirtieth day after death were often offered, and special prayers exist in the Missal for this purpose. In addition, the anniversary of death is also especially noted, having its own proper orations in the Requiem Mass. These practices have surprising antiquity in the Roman Church. Fr. Jungmann elaborates:
"As early as 170 there is evidence... that in Asia Minor a eucharistic memorial for the dead was conducted on the third day after burial; this took place at the grave. The anniversary commemoration is no more recent. In the fourth century the commemoration on the seventh day and on the thirtieth day became known..."
As Catholics we are obliged in justice to pray and offer sacrifice for the souls of our departed relatives, most especially for our parents and grandparents. We should endeavor as much as we are able to have Masses offered on the anniversaries of the deaths of our close relatives. We will not only free them from purgatory sooner, but we will give good example to those who come after us, so that we ourselves will be able to benefit from the sacrifices that they will offer on our behalf after we have passed into the next life.
If you wish to have a Mass offered for a loved one on one of these special days (realistically only the 30 days after death and anniversary of death will be possible in a typical parish setting) please write that information down when you make your Mass request, and every effort will be made to celebrate Mass on that day, and it will be noted in the bulletin.