In the two Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we remember those faithful people who have gone before us: saints from throughout history who have inspired us, and departed loved ones who have shaped our lives.
Each year on November 1 (or the nearest Sunday), the Episcopal Church celebrates All Saints’ Day. On the following day, November 2 (or the nearest Sunday), the church celebrates the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day).
What is the difference between these two observances?
“In the New Testament, the word ‘saints’ is used to describe the entire membership of the Christian community,” explains Holy Women, Holy Men (Church Publishing, 2010). “From very early times, however, the word ‘saint’ came to be applied primarily to persons of heroic sanctity.” So, technically, All Saints’ Day, November 1, includes all deceased Christians; however, historically, there has been a strong inclination to remember and honor our personal loved ones separately on All Souls’ Day.
We commemorate All Souls' Day at St. Luke’s on Sunday, October 29 at all three services, when we will again share a ritual of remembrance for our loved ones who have died. Everyone present will be invited to come forward before the altar, light a candle, and offer their silent prayers.
On Sunday, November 5 at all services we will celebrate All Saints' Day. At the 10:30am service, special music from our St. Luke’s Choir will help us remember the saints through the ages who have inspired us.
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord;
And let light perpetual shine upon them.
May their souls, and the souls of all the departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
- Book of Common Prayer, p. 502
Peace to you,