- The Feast of All Saints (November 1) originated in the East in the 4th century as the Feast of Martyrs. Pope Gregory IV established it as the Feast of All the Saints in 835 for the western Church. It has been celebrated since then on November 1.
- All Souls Day (November 2) also developed early. But in the 11th century St. Odilo of Cluny ordered all monasteries to celebrate it on November 2. This became universal practice. It is a day for remembering the dead, praying and offering indulgences for them. Protestants do not believe in Purgatory. And so, on November 2 they simply remember their beloved dead.
- The two days together remind us of our Creed, “I believe in… the communion of saints.” I believe in the unity in Christ of the Church triumphant in heaven, the Church militant on earth, and the Church suffering.
- On the first eight days of November, a plenary indulgence may be gained by visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead. The usual conditions apply — Confession, Communion, and prayers for the intention of the Holy Father. On November 2, a plenary indulgence may also be gained by visiting a church or oratory and reciting the Our Father and the Creed and praying for the Intention of the Holy Father. Needed too are Confession and Communion. A plenary indulgence is the total remission of sins and of all the temporal punishment due to sin. This is the exercise of the Church’s authority given by the Lord to forgive sins.
- It is said that the word UNDAS comes from the Spanish word “honrar,” to honor. But I prefer the meaning given by one of our co-pilgrims. UNDAS is the acronym of “UN Dia de las Almas y todos los Santos.”
- Although the two days are separate civil and liturgical days, we in the Philippines seem to put them together as “Araw ng mga Patay” (whether now in heaven or not yet). Unfortunately customs and goverment rules have effectively obscured the individuality of the two sacred events. The government holiday is on November 1. But in many parishes, it is on November 1 when the faithful gather in cemeteries to honor the dead. Then on November 2 everyone must travel back to their places of work. The ideal is to declare the 1st two days of November as holidays.
- May I invite you to send me a list of your beloved dead. I shall place the list in a box for my Masses during the month of November.
Prayers, stay safe, God bless!