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SUZIE KLINE MASSEY (Spiritual Director): We’re going to be making prayer flags using very simple art materials as a way to remember those who have passed. We’re praying collectively, we’re creating a sacred space in that prayer, we’re blessing our implements that we’re using. The space is blessed, and then we’ll be imagining, maybe having an image in our minds of those people or animals that we want to remember, and then just really allowing the spirit to work through us. That may sound a little woo-woo to some people, but it really is about getting out of your own way. People will do drawings. They’ll write words of remembrance. They may write a prayer. They may write parts of a hymn, anything that feels comfortable or right for them.

TERRI LYNN SIMPSON (Washington National Cathedral): We’re tapping into all of this long history of practices that have gone before us to bring it into the modern day and honoring this season of Hallowtide in the church.

KLINE MASSEY: We’re going to be calling this “Remembering the Saints of Our Lives.” We may not be referring to saints that are traditionally known as saints, but rather people in our lives who have been very meaningful to us and seem to exemplify very high ideals of humanity. We’re hoping they’ll be lots of flags we can hang in the Resurrection Chapel here. I think it’s going to be an interesting combination of play and grief, and joy and mourning. We want to have a sense of divinity that runs through the experience, and the way we do that is we will say a prayer, and the word for divinity could be lots of different things for lots of different people. It could be God, but it could be spirit. It could be love. It could be nature.

All Saints Day Prayer Flags

It is the season in Western Christianity of celebrating the saints and commemorating the faithful who have already departed this life. All Saints Day is observed on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. R&E takes you to Washington National Cathedral, where prayer flags were made this week in remembrance of friends and loved ones. Spiritual director Suzie Kline Massey describes the significance of the flags. “People will do drawings. They will write words of remembrance. They may write a prayer. They may write parts of a hymn,” she says, to help them remember the saints of their lives.