All Hallows’ Day, the Solemnity of All Saints, or All Saints’ Day is a celebration of all Catholic saints held on November 1 each year. “On this solemnity, we recall the holy men and women who, having completed their earthly journeys, now live forever with God. These saints, though not canonized, offer us models of abiding faith and love of God and neighbor” (Essential Guide to Seasons and Saints, 109).
In the Catholic Church, we are called to imitate and venerate saints because of their heroically virtuous lives, martyrdom, or their offering of life for others. But, what does veneration mean and why do we pray to the saints?
Veneration of the saints fosters our faith in God and does not detract from it. Rather, our faith in God is strengthen by our relationship with our brothers and sisters in the faith who are in heaven. The Church teaches that by imitating the virtues lived by the saints, the saints brings us closer to Christ. When we ask the saints to pray for us, we ask them to join their wills with the will of God and intercede for us here on earth. This is the Communion of Saints which we profess every Sunday in the Creed.
In his homily on the Solemnity of All Saints in 2015, Pope Francis said,
Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be simple and humble people, the grace to be able to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and above all the grace to let ourselves be forgiven by God so as to become instruments of his mercy.
This is what the Saints did, those who have preceded us to our heavenly home. They accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage, they encourage us to go forward. May their intercession help us to walk on Jesus’ path, and to obtain eternal happiness for our deceased brothers and sisters, for whom we offer this Mass.
The Solemnity of All Saints—November 1—is a Holy Day of Obligation.
This is an original piece that was created specifically for myUSCCB. More information on the veneration of saints can be found on USCCB’s website at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/popular-devotional-practices-basic-questions-and-answers.cfm
Copyright © 2013, 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington DC. All rights reserved.
Quote from Pope Francis, copyright © 2017, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City State. All rights reserved.
Additional information taken from Essential Guide to Seasons and Saints, (Washington, DC: USCCB 2013), 109.
Image Credit: Chris Diaz, All Saints Catholic Church