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ALL SOULS' DAY

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All Souls - Feast (November 2) The earliest reference to praying for the dead actually comes from the Bible in 2 Maccabees, chapter 12, verses 43-46.

"He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin."

However, it is not until 998 that All Souls was formally moved to November 2nd. The influence of the monks of Cluny in the 11th century caused its spread. It was not until the 14th century that it began to be celebrated in Rome. Pope Benedict XIV in 1748  allowed three Masses to be said on that day. Finally in 1915 Pope Benedict XV further extended the privilege of saying three Masses to the whole Western church.

Museum of Souls


ALL SOULS:   PRAYING FOR SOULS IN PURGATORY


VATICAN CITY, 2 NOV 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below.

On the day in which the Church commemorates the departed faithful, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of Christians living "our relationship with the dead in the truth of faith, and looking to death and the afterlife in the light of Revelation".

"Today too it is necessary to spread the message of the reality of death and eternal life - a reality particularly subject to superstition and syncretism - so that Christian truth does not risk being confused with mythologies of various kinds", he said.

After recalling the words of St. Augustine to the effect that "everyone seeks 'blessed life' and happiness", Benedict XVI affirmed that "we don't know what this is or what it is like, but we feel ourselves attracted to it. It is a universal hope, shared by people of all times and places. The expression 'eternal life' is an attempt to give a name to this unquenchable hope: not an endless succession, but an immersion in the ocean of infinite love, where time, before and after, exist no more. Fullness of life and of joy is what we hope and expect from being with Christ.

"Today we renew our hope in eternal life, a hope truly founded in the death and resurrection of Christ", the Pope added. "Christian hope is never something merely individual, it is always a hope for others. Our lives are deeply linked to one another, and the good and bad each of us does always touches other people".

The Holy Father concluded: "The prayer of a pilgrim soul in the world can help another soul that continues purifying itself after death. This is why today the Church invites us to pray for our deceased loved ones and to spend time at their tombs in cemeteries"
Pope visits the tombs