Veterans Day is November 11 – a day for Americans to honor those who served in all wars. For many, that involves a visit to the cemetery.
Also, November is Catholic Cemetery Month, a special time in the Church calendar when the faithful are encouraged to visit the cemetery and remember their beloved dead.
If you go to the cemetery and see coins on military tombstones, here’s what that means, according to the Wounded Warrior Project:
“Placing a coin on headstones of a service member or veteran is a show of respect and honor, as well as letting the deceased service member’s family know someone was there,” according to the Project’s website.
The organization says that depending on the denomination of the coin, it has a distinct meaning to the person who placed it there.
A penny means someone has visited the grave. A nickel means the visitor served with the deceased service member in boot camp. A dime means the visitor and the deceased served together at some point. A quarter, according to the group, means the person who placed it was there when the veteran died.
Whether or not you are visiting a veteran, there are several prayers that can be used to pray for the souls of the dead.
One common prayer is the “Eternal Rest” prayer:
Eternal rest, grant unto him/her, Oh Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him/her.
May he/she rest in peace.
You can also pray the prayer of St. Gertrude for the souls in purgatory:
Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.