Why do we commemorate ALL SAINTS DAY and ALL SOULS DAY?
To remind us that we are all called to be saints and to be encouraged by their lives.
All Souls' Day is a day of prayer for the dead. In Western Christianity the annual celebration is now held on 2 November and is associated with All Saints' Day (1 November) and its vigil, Halloween (31 October).
Prayer for the dead is a documented practice in Judaism and in early Christianity. The setting aside of a particular day for praying not for certain named individuals but for whole classes of the departed or for the dead in was well established by the end of the first millennium.
Prayers for the deceased members of Benedictine monasteries were offered in the week after Pentecost and the practice of praying for the dead at a date near Pentecost was also followed in Spain in the 7th century. Other dates chosen were Epiphany and the anniversary of the death of some well-known saint, as shown by evidence from the beginning of the 9th century.
|All Souls Day- Aladar K. Korosfoi, 1910 Hungary|
The importance of All Souls Day was made clear by Pope Benedict XV (1914-22), when he granted all priests the privilege of celebrating three Masses on All Souls Day: one for the faithful departed; one for the priest's intentions; and one for the intentions of the Holy Father. Only on a handful of other very important feast days are priests allowed to celebrate more than two Masses.
|All Souls Day- Joza Uprka -Czech 1897|
There are two plenary indulgences attached to All Souls Day, one for visiting a church and another for visiting a cemetery.