ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints Day (also called All Hallows or Hallowmas), often shortened to All Saints, is a feast (Holy day) celebrated on November 1 in the Western Christianity and on the first Sunday after the Pentecost in Eastern Christianity in honor of all the saints known and unknown. In terms of Roman Catholic theology, the feast commemorates all those who have the beatific vision ( eternal and direct visual perception of G_d) in Heaven.
It is a national holiday in many predominately Catholic countries. The next day, All Souls' Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Christians who celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in purgatory ( the Church Suffering), those in Heaven ( the 'church triumphant'), and the living (' the church militant'). Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways; for example, in the Methodist Church, saints refer to all Christians and therefore, on All Saints Day, the Church Universal (the Christian Church), as well as the deceased members of a local congregation are honored and remembered.
In the early Christian Church, Christians would celebrate the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ-known as the saint's "birth day" - by serving an All- Night Vigil, and then celebrating the Eucharist over the tomb or the shrine at their place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighboring dioceses began to transfer relic, and to celebrate the feast days of specific martyrs in common. Frequently, a number of Christians would suffer martyrdom on the same day, which naturally led to joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. The Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. A day commemorating "All Martyrs" began to be celebrated as early as the year 270, although no specific month or date is mentioned in existing records. The first trace of a general celebration on a specific day is attested in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost.
Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers bring us Your forgiveness and love.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
ALL SOULS' DAY
All Souls' Day November 2 ( exceptionally on November 3) feast on which the Church on Earth prays for the souls of the faithful departed still suffering in purgatory.General intercessions for the dead are very ancient but the modern feast was probably first established by Abbot Odilio of Cluny ( in France, northwest of Lyons) for his community and later extended throughout the Church.
All Soul's Day purposely follows All Saints Day in order to shift the focus from those in Heaven to those in purgatory. It is celebrated with Masses and festivities in honor of the dead. While the Feast of All Saints is a day to remember the glories of Heaven and those there, the Feast of All Souls remind us of our obligations to live holy lives and that thee will be purification of souls destined to Heaven.
The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all Masses are of Requiem ( Mass for the Dead), except for one current feast,where this is of obligation. The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine of the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sin or have not fully atoned for their past transgressions, are barred from the Beatific Vision, and the faithful on Earth can help them by prayers, almseed and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass. Souls in purgatory, who are members of the Church just like living Christians, must suffer so they can be purged of their sins.
Upon death, it's believed that souls have not yet been cleansed of sin. Praying for souls of loved ones help to remove the stain of sin and allow souls to enter Heaven. Through prayer and good work, living members of the Church may help their departed friends and family. There are three Requiem Masses said by the clergy to assist the souls from Purgatory to Heaven: one for the celebrant, one for the departed and one for the pope.
The Catholic Church has dedicated the entire month of November to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
If you are offering the prayer to a particular person, you can substitute "him" or "her" for "them".
Eternal rest grant unto to them,
Oh Lord let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Merciful Father ,
hear our prayer and console us.
As we renew our faith in your Son,
whom you raised from the dead,
strengthen our hope
that our departed brothers and sisters
will share in His resurrection
who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit
one God forever and ever. Amen.