Ladies and gentlemen,
First, I would like to thank Ambassador Jelko Kacin and the government for the opportunity to address the Slovenian public, especially all Christians.
On Sunday, we will celebrate All Saints' Day and the National Holiday Day of Remembrance of the Dead, as every year on November 1. For us Christians, it will be a day of remembrance of all holy Christians, especially those who, as martyrs, gave their lives for Christ. In the East, the Church celebrated the feast as early as in the 4th century, and through Gaul, in the 9th century, the celebration spread to the Western Church as well. Due to the growing number of saints, Pope Gregory IV in the 9th century proclaimed November 1 a day of remembrance for the saints and the deceased, who cannot be remembered individually during the church year.
Following our religious tradition and the Slovenian culture, on November 1 and 2, it is customary to visit graves and pray for deceased relatives and friends. This has been a sign of cultivation and respect among people since the very beginnings of human history. These holidays, like this year’s Easter, will be different. Due to the severe epidemic, experts have suggested to the government to limit movement between municipalities and urge everyone to stay at home. Due to health conditions, we will abandon the traditional visitation of relatives and friends on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. I would like to invite you to visit the graves in your parish or municipality individually or with your family members only and pray there for the deceased. In doing so, I ask you to avoid socializing, visiting other households, and crossing the borders of your municipality to maintain your health. Let us also not forget the deep-rooted prayer of rosaries for the deceased in family circles on the evening of All Saints’ Day. This year's situation invites us to revive this devotion.
Due to the restriction of movement between municipalities, many will not be able to visit the graves of their deceased parents, relatives, and friends. It is an affliction and a sacrifice that everyone will make to limit the epidemic, prevent overcrowding in hospitals and save lives. I will not visit my mother and father’s grave this year, however, I will remember them in prayer. Therefore, I cordially invite you and ask you to make this personal sacrifice and to observe the measures of the government and experts. This is our task and our duty and the best way to limit the epidemic.
I would also like to inform you that this time the priests were instructed by their bishops to bless graves from one spot in a cemetery without the presence of the faithful. The blessing will be accompanied by the ringing of the bells of parish churches and cemetery chapels. This way the faithful will be able to be part of the sacred rituals through prayer in their homes. Instead of buying flowers and candles, the bishops invite all the faithful to offer money for holy masses and the maintenance of their parishes. To the best of your abilities, donate also to Caritas Slovenia and other charities that take care of the poor among us. During the holidays, let us also give more attention to each other. Please call your relatives and friends, the sick and the lonely, and tell them you are happy to have them.
There is an increasing number of infected and sick people among us and more and more of them are being treated in hospitals. On this occasion, I would like to express my support to all the sick and their relatives, and my gratitude and acknowledgment to all health professionals and others for their sacrifice and withstanding this disease in the frontlines. To health professionals in this noble mission, do not lose your strength and do not despair, but remain faithful to the love for the neighbour despite great efforts. At the same time, I extend my sincere condolences to everyone that have lost their relatives and I promise to pray for them. On All Saints' Day and the National Day of the Dead, they will have a special place in my prayer and in celebrating the Holy Mass.
To conclude, I would like to wish you many blessing during the holidays and good health. May the Bible words accompany you in these days: Cheer up!
Thank you very much.
Msgr. Stanislav Zore
Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana, and
President of SBC