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Solemnity of All Saints

Solemnity of All Saints
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  • Feast Day: November 1st

Many times it is referred to as All Saints Day, but officially the Roman Catholic Church calls it the “Solemnity of All Saints”.  It is always celebrated in the Catholic Church on November 1st, and it is in honor of all saints, known and unknown.  In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven.  In many historically Catholic countries it is a national holiday. 

In our Catholic faith, the next 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 with a fundamental belief.  That being; the spiritual bond between those in purgatory – the Church Suffering, those in heaven – the Church Triumphant, and those living – the Church Militant.  This demonstrates the unity between all three, yet one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.  One group being ever mindful of the other, keeping them in prayer, or asking for their intercession.   

The Solemnity of All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.  The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West, dates back to May 13, 609, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the Martyrs.  It was called the “Feast of the Dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres” and has been celebrated at Rome ever since.  There is evidence that from as early as the fifth century there existed some form of celebration of the holy martyrs, although its origin cannot be traced with certainty.   

The Feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III, 731-741, of an oratory in St. Peter’s for, “the relics of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”, moving the day to November 1st, from the original May 13th.