BENSONHURST — So many worshippers turned out for the All Souls’ Day Mass at the Basilica of Regina Pacis on Tuesday evening, Nov. 2, that it had to be moved.
Msgr. Ronald Marino, rector at the basilica, had originally designated the downstairs St. Joseph Chapel for the Mass celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
But the rector had learned in advance that throngs of parishioners planned to attend.
He changed the location to the upstairs nave. Parishioners filled the basilica for the commemoration of the faithful departed, All Souls’ Day — a Mass to pray for those who have gone on before them to their eternal reward.
It was Bishop DiMarzio’s last All Souls’ Day Mass as prelate for the Diocese of Brooklyn. He begins retirement on Nov. 30. He said before the Mass began that he looks forward to next year’s feast without having the next task of shepherding the diocese in the back of his mind.
Bishop DiMarzio also explained why the feast of All Souls is important to Catholics.
“We believe in eternal life,” he said. “And we recognize those who have gone before us, some of whom have not entered completely into the joy of God’s kingdom. They are awaiting the Kingdom, longing to be united with God, and to see God in a special way.
“We call that state Purgatory,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “It is not a place, but it’s a state of these souls that are not completely united with God. We pray for them, and they pray for us.”
Bishop DiMarzio added this is part of the “communion of saints.”
“Yesterday,” he continued, “we had the feast of All Saints — those who are united with God and seeing God’s love in the full way. But it’s important that we see that the communion of saints exists with those on earth, those awaiting Heaven, and those in Heaven. That’s what we’ve been, what we’ve known over the centuries, and today we celebrate it.”
At the end of the Mass, Msgr. Marino praised Bishop DiMarzio and thanked him for his long support for the basilica, especially in requesting Vatican approval. Pope Benedict XVI elevated Regina Pacis to a minor basilica in October 2012.
“We thank him for that,” Msgr. Marino said of Bishop DiMarzio, “especially as he, as we say in Brooklyn, pulled the strings that made that happen. And we are forever proud of our beautiful Basilica of Regina Pacis.”
Also after the Mass, a plaque was unveiled in St. Joseph Chapel and Columbarium declaring it was Bishop DiMarzio who blessed and dedicated the space on the very same date, Nov. 2, in 2015.