01 November 2009

Solemnity of All Saints

1 NOVEMBER 2009. Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of All Saints--the annual feast of all those that the Church recognizes as having attained the beatific vision. This year, there are five new saints to celebrate, who were canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on 11 October of this year.

The celebration of all saints has been a fixture on the Church calendar for a very long time. On 13 May 609 or 610, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all martyrs and ordered that an anniversary of all saints be celebrated each year. The celebration moved to its current slot on the calendar during the pontificate of Gregory III (731-741). The annual commemoration was then extended to the universal Church by Pope Gregory IV (827-844).

The Solemnity of All Saints is a holy day of obligation in the United States, unless it falls on a Monday or Saturday.

The Solemnity of All Saints is always followed by All Souls Day on 2 November.

The saints have recognized the attainment of holiness in their lives that all faithful strive for. In the presence of the Holy Trinity, the saints can intercede for us and are a powerful assistance and great comfort in our time of need.

If you have not done so lately, pray to your patron saint. If you do not have a patron saint, take the time to do some research and find one--the stories of the lives and experiences of the saints are a magnificent tapestry that draw upon all walks of life, circumstances, and vocations. If you need research help, drop me a line.

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