Origin and Significance of the Catholic Feast of All Saints.
All Saints Day is a Christian celebration which takes place on the first of November.
On this day, the Church celebrates in a solemn manner all those departed who, having overcome purgatory, have been totally sanctified, obtained the beatific vision and enjoy eternal life in the presence of God. Therefore this day is for “all the saints”. We do not only rejoice for all the blessed and saints that are on the canonical list and that the Church celebrates on another day of the year; we celebrate also all of those who are not canonized but already live in the presence of God. The Feast of All Saints precedes the commemoration of all the faithful departed, whose solemnity was established officially for the November 2nd two centuries after the establishment of All the Saints.
Third Annual Feast of All the Saints with the Children of the Oratory- Saturday, October 29th, 2016
Every year there are more children! This year we had the remarkable attendance of 58 children. As part of the festivity, everyone came dressed as the saint of his or her choosing. The gathering started in our parking area, with songs and preparation for the procession. When it seemed like the majority of the kids who were signed up were there, we began the procession through the streets of our neighborhood in Cents. Throughout the procession we sang with the children and the parents. When we got back to the convent, we went into our yard and sat in a large circle to begin the presentations. The first to present themselves were the three dads who were also dressed up. These were: Saint Peter, who always opens the door to heaven, Saint John Bosco, founder of the Oratory, and Saint Benjamin, deacon and martyr of the fifth century.
The children followed, the older ones giving a short history of the life of the saint they were representing, and the younger ones saying only the name of their Saint. Afterwards we divided into age groups and began the games. Before it was time to go, everyone came together to share a delicious snack of the long awaited chocolate cake and sing the litany of Saints.
To finish we gave each child a small gift bag of goodies and a holy card of the Holy Family.
It was a great opportunity to demonstrate how fun it is to celebrate the day of All Saints and not Halloween as today’s culture suggests. The reason this feast is the day before the commemoration of all the Faithful Departed is to explain that the souls of those who die in the grace of God live and reign in heaven, the place reserved for all who believe.
May this faith give us our joy and our strength, may the Lord keep us always pure and faithful, and with His grace protect and sustain us always. Amen!
Sister Maria Czestochowa, SSVM