November is the month we celebrate All Saints’, All Souls’, and our Mexican brothers and Sisters celebrate Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). All Saints’ day was known in the past as All Hallow’s Day or Hallowmas. Today it is usually referred to as the Feast of All Saints in the Church. All Saints’ Day is celebrated on the 1st of November in the Western Church and the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Eastern Church.
All Saints’ Day is meant to celebrate that “cloud of witness”, known and unknown, who are praying for us in Heaven. All Souls’ Day, celebrated the day after All Saints’ Day, is day of prayer for our dearly beloved who may not yet be purified by Purgatory and may not be in Heaven yet. We pray that they will soon be with their Lord and Savior.
Some interesting facts about the Feast of All Saints:
1) The origin of this Feast Day cannot be pinpointed exactly, but a Feast of All Martyrs was kept on May 13th by the Eastern Churches starting in the late 4th century.
2) Pope Boniface IV chose May 13th to celebrate the Blessed Virgin and all Martyrs when he dedicated the Pantheon as a Christian Church in 609.
3) Pope Gregory III dedicated a new chapel to All Saints on November 1st late in the 8th Century, so the Feast of All Saints began to be celebrated on November 1st in Rome to include all saints not just all martyrs.
4) Pope Gregory IV ordered its general observance in 837.
5) In England the day was called All Hallow’s Day. The night before was called All Hallow’s Even. That is where we get the word Halloween.
6) All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States. That means all practicing Catholics are expected to attend Mass on that day if at all possible.
7) The New Orleans Saints were named for All Saints because of its large Catholic population.
All Saints Day is a beautiful celebration of our Church family. Go to Mass. Celebrate.
Again, please continue to pray for the students of St. Philip Neri’s religious education classes.
Lord, Our God, in your wisdom and love, you surround us with the mysteries of the universe. Send your Spirit upon our students, and fill them with your wisdom and blessings. Grant that they may devote themselves to their studies and draw ever closer to you, the source of all knowledge. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.