Why do we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day?

In the earliest days of the Church, Christians would remember those martyred for their faith by holding a memorial service on the anniversary of their death at the place of their martyrdom. It is not unlike the services held in New York City on September 11th each year since 2001. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. Pope Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November.

We celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day because we have a fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those  in heaven (the ‘church triumphant‘), and the living (the ‘church militant‘). We call this the Communion of Saints. When we celebrate All Saints and All Souls we not only remember those who have gone before us but we believe that they are present to us through our  common communion in Jesus Christ who is Lord of the living and the Dead.

This year we have two Masses on All Saints Day, Thursday November 1st .  The first is at 8:00 a.m. the second is at 7:00 p.m.  On All Souls day, Friday November 2nd we will have our annual  Prayer Service for all the Faithful Departed at 7:00 p.m. We encourage you to make plans to join us on these Holy days.

Blessings,

Dan