As soon as November begins I start to wear a particular hat. It's an elderly tweed trilby which has probably been in and out of fashion a dozen or more times, and which to my amazement some of my younger friends tell me looks cool and stylish. I suppose I'm amazed because it belonged to my dad, who was a sensible rather than a stylish dresser; no doubt he's looking down on these compliments with bemused amusement!
But November for Catholics is the month for remembering and praying for all our dead, whether they were in a war or not. And for me this month, only a week old, is already filled with news of three deaths from three parts of my life: two unexpected - one of them a complete shock - the third anticipated but no less sad. Three men who in different ways have been part of my life and are now part of my memories - which the internet and their social media accounts are helping to preserve - and newly included in my prayer. They were not my closest friends, but each has been significant for me, and I have valued the gift and the friendship of each one. May they rest in God's peace, and may all who love and mourn them - including the parishioners of the priest who has just died so suddenly and unexpectedly - find peace even as we grieve for our loss.