The meaning of the celebration
+ On this day the Church remembers all those women and men who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith, and prays that the Lord in his mercy will welcome them into the Kingdom of Heaven.
+ The various readings from Scripture that can be used for this celebration remind us that God’s power is stronger than death and that nothing is greater than the gift of eternal life God promises us through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
+ As we honor those who have gone before us, we commend them to God’s mercy and love.
It was the Benedictine abbot Saint Odilo of Cluny who, in 998, ordered that this feast be celebrated in all the monasteries associated with the great abbey of Cluny. The celebration was later adopted by other religious communities and dioceses. On this day, clergy and religious pray the Office of the Dead (unless the celebration falls on a Sunday) and priests are given special permission to celebrate three Masses on this day: for the souls in Purgatory, for the intentions of the Pope, and for the priest’s own intentions. The liturgical colors allowed on this day are white, violent, and black.
“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”—Wisdom 3:1-9
Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord,
and, as our faith in your Son,
raised from the dead, is deepened,
so may our hope of resurrection for your departed servants
also find new strength.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.