All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
by Cielbert Adriatico Dondoyano on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:32pm ·

All Saints’ Day


All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas) is the day after All

Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en). It is a feast day celebrated on 1st November by Anglicans

and Roman Catholics.


It is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and

unknown, throughout Christian history. As part of this day of obligation, believers

are required to attend church and try not to do any servile work.


Remembering saints and martyrs and dedicating a specific day to them each year has

been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD, but it wasn’t until 609AD that

Pope Boniface IV decided to remember all martyrs. Originally 13th May was designated

as the Feast of All Holy Martyrs. Later, in 837AD, Pope Gregory IV extended the

festival to remember all the saints, changed its name to Feast of All Saints and

changed the date to 1st November.


We celebrate today the solemnity of All Saints. This invites us to turn our gaze to 

the immense multitude of those who have already reached the blessed land, and points us on the path that will lead us to that destination.Pope John Paul II, All Saints’ Day 2003





All Souls’ Day


All Souls’ Day is marked on 2nd November (or the 3rd if the 2nd is a Sunday), directly

following All Saints’ Day, and is an opportunity for Roman Catholics and Anglo-

Catholic churches to commemorate the faithful departed. They remember and pray for the

souls of people who are in Purgatory – the place (or state) in which those who have

died atone for their less grave sins before being granted the vision of God in Heaven

(called Beatific vision).


Reasoning behind this stems from the notion that when a soul leaves the body, it is

not entirely cleansed from venial (minor) sins. However, through the power of prayer

and self-denial, the faithful left on earth may be able to help these souls gain the

Beatific Vision they seek, bringing the soul eternal sublime happiness.


A 7/8th century AD prayer The Office of the Dead is read out in churches on All Souls’

Day. Other rituals include the offering of Requiem Mass for the dead, visiting family

graves and reflecting on lost loved ones. In Mexico, on el dia de los muertos (Day of

the Dead), people take picnics to their family graves and leave food out for their

dead relatives.


Whilst praying for the dead is an ancient Christian tradition, it was Odilo, Abbot of

Cluny (France) who, in 998AD, designated a specific day for remembering and praying

for those in the process of purification. This started as a local feast in his

monasteries and gradually spread throughout the Catholic Church towards the end of the

10th century AD.


For the souls in purgatory, waiting for eternal happiness and for meeting the Beloved 

is a source of suffering, because of the punishment due to sin which separates them 

from God. But there is also the certitude that once the time of purification is over, 

the souls will go to meet the One it desires.Letter of Pope John Paul II for Millennium of All Souls’ Day




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