Sunday, November 17, 2013

November the Month of the Poor Souls

Soul Cakes
"Will you say a Hail Mary for the Poor Souls in Purgatory?"

Students were offered a scrumptious spice cupcake lightly frosted and asked to say a Hail Mary for the poor souls in purgatory. Overwhelmingly the answer was "yes." Together the teachers and the students prayed a Hail Mary for the poor souls. This custom called "Soul Cakes" is found in the old, north country of England.

According to the custom, children beg from their neighbors or at a party a soul cake in exchange for prayers for the departed souls of loved ones. "A soul cake, a soul cake, I pray good mistress a soul cake." After hearing the request, the lady of the house gives the child a nice plump fruity bun, and the child offers the prayer.

Adapting the practice to contemporary life seems a delightful way for parents or teachers to encourage young children to pray for the poor souls in purgatory. We have chosen the humble spice cake as our soul cake! If older children take part in the custom, they can be given the role of mistress or dispenser of the soul cakes, requesting a prayer from the younger children for the poor souls in return for the cupcake. This reminds the older students to pray for the poor souls, too. All can say the prayer together, and then everyone eats the soul cake! An older custom is revived, a fun time is had, and the poor souls receive a gift of prayers.

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