What difference between All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?

Nowadays the feast of All Saints’ Day often get mixed up with the Day of the Dead. What is the difference? What is the meaning of All Saints’ Day? Why a Day of the Dead? Explinations by Rev. Fr. Paul Denizot.

The meaning of All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day celebrates all Saints, i.e. all who have gone before us. In the very first place, the Virgin Mary, then the holy archangels and angels, the apostles, the martyrs, the virgins, the priests, the consecrated, the laity… That day is also the feast of all the saints who were not canonised by the Church. For example, people in our families who are already in heaven with the Lord, contemplating him in his glory and interceding for us.

All Saints’ Day also bring us to reflect on the meaning of our existence. We were created to be saints, and to contemplate the Lord in his glory one day, and live forever in the joy of the blessed, for eternity.

Because the Kingdom of God has already begun, All Saints’ Day furthermore enjoins to live such holiness right here on earth. The Kingdom of God is in construction amidst the trials and turpitudes of this world, and already we are part of it.

All Souls’ Day: why?

The day following All Saint’s Day, we pray for the dead. We especially remember the souls in purgatory, that is, of all the deceased who are not in heaven. People we have loved as much as people we do not know. By means of our prayers, almsgiving, acts of kindness, and our manner of apprehend Mass or Masses (priests may celebrate three Eucharistic celebrations on that day) on 2nd November, we petition to the Lord to receive them into His kingdom.

On 2nd November we also go and visit cemeteries to pray for the departed members of our family, but also for those for whom no one prays, the forgotten. Our mission as the living is to pray for our deceased parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters and children. “Lord welcome them into your kingdom, into the joy of Heaven.”

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