The Solemnity of All Saints

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The Solemnity of All Saints

all saints

Tuesday, November 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation.

Masses will be at 6:30 and 8:30am, Noon and 7:30pm.

In designating one day on our calendar for all the saints, the church chooses a time to honor our heroes -the men and women whose example we admire. Coming near the end of the church year, the solemnity of All Saints invites us into the mystery of death and the promise of eternal life.

An early tradition placed the festival on May 13. According to one story, Pope Boniface IV (himself a saint) began the celebration in Rome. On that date in 609 he dedicated a very old building as a new church. The Pantheon had been built to honor all the pagan gods, but Boniface rededicated the building as a Christian church in the seventh century. He brought the relics of the martyrs from the catacombs to this famous public place of worship. The parade of relics changed the Pantheon from a place for worship of all the pagan gods to a place that honored Mary and all the Christian saints – and in turn the one Christian God. Eventually the idea of a feast of all saints was transferred to Nov. 1, near the end of the church year.

The church honors many saints with a day of their own on the general liturgical calendar, but there are many more saints than those. Since Vatican II, the number of men and women canonized as saints has increased considerably.

Although we do not celebrate all their names on specific in all our churches throughout the year, we do gather them as one on this day.

Secular tradition has turned the eve of All Saints into a kind of anti-festival, a night when heroes of the underworld take command.

Copyright © 2012 Resource Publications, Inc., 160 E. Virginia St. #170, San Jose, CA 95112  Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, MO, holds a doctorate in sacramental theology from Saint’ Anselmo University in Rome