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All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day: A Celebration

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What's the difference between these special days?

All Saints' Day is a holy day of obligation celebrated every Nov. 1. It is dedicated to the recognized saints of the Church and all those who have made it into heaven. Anyone who makes it into heaven is a saint, even if the Church does not yet recognize their sanctification.

All Saints' Day is Nov. 1 and All Souls' Day.

All Saints' Day is Nov. 1 and All Souls' Day.

Highlights

All Souls' Day is celebrated on Nov. 2 each year. All Soul's Day is dedicated to all those who are departed from this world and who wait in faith of the promised Resurrection.

All Saints' Day is celebrated by attending Mass and honoring the saints by visiting their holy shrines and offering prayers seeking their intercession. We honor the saints best by emulating their lives, by striving to become examples of holy, meritorious people, just as they were.

All Souls' Day is often celebrated by attending Mass, although it is not a holy day of obligation.  Many people visit cemeteries or shrines dedicated to their loved ones and ancestors. On this day, we particularly ask for the repose of their souls and the intercession of the saints to usher them into heaven in accord with the promises of Christ. In other words, we pray for our loved ones to enter heaven.

On these days we must recognize the truth that we too will someday join our ancestors. Those who come after us will pray for us. And we too will be raised from the dead in fulfillment of the promises of Christ. We anticipate with hope the day we will be saints ourselves in perfect communion with God.


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