1 November: Feast of All Saints

Today is the feast of All Hallows, or All Saints, when we commemorate all those who have reached heaven, known or unknown.

These days a lot of communities seem to be treating it as a chance to celebrate again your own favourite canonised saint.  But personally I favour celebrating all those faithful souls that we don't know about, but who are yet saints in heaven, particularly asking those of our own ancestors and deceased relatives and friends if they be in this happy state, to pray for us.

The origins of the feast can be traced back to the consecration of the Parthenon to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs around 609, and was originally celebrated on 13 May.  The feast was moved to 1 November by Pope Gregory III (731–741) when he built an oratory in St. Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world".

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