“The memory of those have departed can be extended through an internet initiative. Using the hashtag #Zaduszki, twitter users can share photos of the graves and necropolises of the dead [as traditionally lit with candles] at this time of year.  This is a new way of reminding our Social Media friends about the need to pray for the souls of the dead, hence the name of the action ‘#Zaduszki’” said s​pokesman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference Father Paweł Rytel-Andrianik.

“’Zaduszki’ (‘All Souls’) – which is celebrated on 2nd November – is the shortened name for ‘The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed.’   In the next few days we will visit family graves and also the famous Polish necropolises.  Photos taken with a smartphone can be uploaded to Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #Zaduszki  as one way of remembering in prayer those who have died,” continued the spokesman.

He explained that in creating this virtual gallery, with photos of cemeteries from all over Poland, a chance is offered to those who are unable for various reasons to visit the graves of their loved ones, to join in spiritually.

“’Zaduszki’ –  the special day of prayer for  souls [in Purgatory] – is not in the Church a day for sadness, but a day of reflection on the life and the Christian hope which is realised in the Solemnity of All Saints which occurs on November 1st.   Photos posted with the hashtag #Zaduszki is a also a request for our friends to pray for our dear departed, ” stressed Father Rytel-Andrianik.

At the same time, the spokesman pointed out that from 1st to 8th November – when we visit a cemetery – we can gain a plenary indulgence for ourselves or for the deceased person, subject to the usual three conditions – to be in a state of Sanctifying Grace with the renunciation of sin, to receive Holy Communion, and to say a prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions.  This is a great grace of forgiveness.

The spokesman emphasised that the Church recognises the ability to reach millions through social media.  “This tool provides the opportunity to evangelise and create some form of community on the internet.   Pope Francis has a Twitter profile, as did Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.  Many Polish bishops also have Twitter profiles.   This is the implementation of the call made many years ago by Pope St John Paul II to sail to the depths of cyberspace,” the Bishops’ Spokesman reminded everyone.

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