All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days

All Saints’ Day on 1st November (also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas) is the day after All Hallow’s Eve (Hallowe’en). It is an opportunity for believers to remember all those who lived the Beatitudes – the saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history.

Remembering saints and martyrs and dedicating a specific day to them each year has been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD.  On this day we give thanks especially for St Brigid of Kildare – our Patroness.

We celebrate today the solemnity of All Saints. This invites us to turn our gaze to the immense multitude of those who have already reached the blessed land, and points us on the path that will lead us to that destination.

Pope John Paul II,  All Saints’ Day 2003

All Souls’ Day is celebrated on 2nd November directly following All Saints’ Day, and is an opportunity to remember those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

There are a number of different rituals that mark this day –  visiting family graves, remembering the beloved members of our families and friends and our Congregation and giving thanks for their lives and service. In particular we remember those who have died in the past year.

Whilst praying for the dead is an ancient Christian tradition, it was Odilo, Abbot of Cluny (France) who, in 998AD, designated a specific day for remembering and praying for them. This started as a local feast in his monasteries and gradually spread throughout the Catholic Church towards the end of the 10th century AD.