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All Saints and All Souls

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/10/31 at 12:00 AM

Reflection by Father Mark Lawlor, Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church, Charlotte

All Saints & All Souls:  November 1st is the celebration of All Saints Day throughout the Church.  It is a universal Christian Solemnity honoring all Christian saints ~ those known and unknown.  This remains a Holy Day of Obligation.  The Solemnity celebrates all who have died and are now with God in the glory of heaven.

They are known as The Church Triumphant.  It was Pope Gregory IV who in 835 ordered the Feast of All Saints to be universally observed on Nov. 1st.  It is a day when we thank God for welcoming men and women to share in His holiness and heavenly glory as a reward for their faithfulness. The saints have shown us that saintly living is possible.  We venerate their memory, we trust in their intercession; and their Christian witness inspires us.  We know that we have no lasting home in this world.  Heaven is our hope and our goal.  In Faith, we may say that the saints have gone ‘home’ to the Lord.  On November 2nd, we will celebrate the Commemoration of the All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day).  The feast reminds us of our Lord’s victory and the promise of eternal life for those who have died in the peace of Christ.  R.I.P. is a common abbreviation in cemeteries.  It represents the phrase:  Requiescat in pace or May he or she rest in peace.  This, of course, is the prayer of the Church.  The prayers of the Mass humbly ask for the happy repose of the souls of those who have died.  The Mass actually follows the format of a funeral Mass.  The month of November is a traditional time for visiting the graves of our loved ones who have been called from this life.  They are missed and yet not forgotten.  We continue to love them.  On All Souls Day, we remember the souls of the faithful departed of whose earthly remains have been interred in our parish columbarium (known as Mary’s Wall.)

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