All Saints' Day - November 1 (Holy Day of Obligation - on a Sunday this year)
On this feast day we celebrate all of the saints both known and unknown. Many holy people who have gone before us have gone through the process of canonization and are recognized as saints who are experiencing the fullness of heaven always in the presence of God. This destination is the hope of all Christians.
An important truth of our faith is the communion of saints that describes the connection among those in heaven, those in purgatory (being purified for entrance into heaven,) and those alive on earth. The attached pdf has an easy to read and understand explanation of the communion of saints and related activity sheets for kids. In short, we are all connected as follows:
- Church Triumphant - those individuals who have died and are now in heaven with God for eternity. We call these people saints, and we can ask them to pray for us.
- Church Suffering - those individuals who have died and are in purgatory. People whose souls are in purgatory died in friendship with God, but their souls are in need of purification due to the effects of sin. They cannot pray for themselves so they depend on those of us still alive to pray for them.
- Church Militant - those individuals alive on earth. We are trying to do the will of God in our daily lives and hope to spend eternity in heaven. We can ask the saints in heaven to pray for us, and we can pray for the souls in purgatory and the souls of those still living.
In addition to studying the communion of saints, you and your children may want to find information on some specific saints. The following websites will help you explore the many saints who have been canonized. Their backgrounds are varied, their actions heroic, and their lives holy. Find a saint that you and your family can name as your patron saint. As part of your morning and evening prayers, ask that saint to pray for you.
All Souls' Day - November 2
On this day we remember all of the souls who have gone before us and pray for all souls in purgatory being purified for the glorious entry into heaven. Many traditions and our liturgy provide opportunity to pray for the souls in purgatory:
- The Eucharistic Prayer at each Mass includes a prayer for and a time to remember the souls of those who have died.
- People request of the parish to have the intention of a Mass be specifically for a loved one who has died.
- Individuals pray as they pass by or visit a cemetery for the souls of the departed.
- Funeral Masses are offered for those recently deceased.
Attached to this email is a sheet that contains a prayer to be prayed at any time for the souls in purgatory. This same sheet contains the short prayer often said when driving by or visiting a cemetery.
On or near All Souls' Day, consider visiting a cemetery to pray for your loved ones there and/or for those souls who have no one to pray for them. If you cannot visit a cemetery, collect pictures of those lost loved ones in your family, light a candle, and pray the prayer for souls in purgatory. Perhaps you can also make a special card that represents the souls who have no one to pray for them and include them in your prayer.
Video from Marc Laudonio, St. Francis Xavier Faith Formation Director