Two celebrations, one feast: celebrating the Saints and commemorating the dead

By: Miral Atik/ - Published: November 02 Wed, 2022

Two celebrations, one feast: celebrating the Saints and commemorating the dead Available in the following languages:

JERUSALEM – During the beginning of November, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrated two significant feasts in the life of the church, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.

Every year, the Church celebrates All Saints' Day on November 1st, to commemorate those who achieved spiritual maturity and are now with God, in His heavenly Kingdom. On this day, the faithful venerate all the holy men and women of God who have been canonized by the Church. 

The great life of the Saints shows to the faithful that a life lived according to the Gospel is possible; to become a Saint is the call of God to every believer, “Be holy, for I am Holy,” (1 Peter 1:16). The believers' spiritual walk to sanctity is simplified by taking the saints as an example and as a beacon of hope amidst their trials.

This year, the Solemnity of All Saints fell on a Tuesday. His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, celebrated Mass with his priests at the Pro-Cathedral. The celebration was concelebrated by Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar, and Fr. Piotr Zelazko, Vicar of the Saint James Vicariate. “Today, we are celebrating all the Saints, who made the Gospel tangible...They remind us that the Gospel is not a utopia, is not just an idea, but can be lived through us,” said His Beatitude.

The priests of the Patriarchate celebrate Holy Mass at the Pro-Cathedral

The priests were not the only ones to celebrate this feast: the staff did as well. On October 28th, Fr. Ibrahim Nino, spiritual chaplain of the Patriarchate, organized a spiritual retreat for everyone working at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which started with a worship cry to the Lord, all Merciful. He then gave a historical overview of both feasts and their role in the Church. "Each one of you has a special role to play in the Church, for we, the believers, are the Church; and each one of you has a role in God's redepmtive plan that is still unfolding," he said.

The three divisions of the Mother Church were then explained: the Church Militant (Christians on earth), the Church Penitent (in Purgatory), and the Church Triumphant (in Heaven).

The staff of the Patriarchate during the retreat.

Similar to All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day celebrates those who are on their way to heaven. On November 2nd, the faithful thus commemorate the departure of their loved ones by attending Masses to offer acts of reparation on their behalf. A feast that transpires both sorrow and joy, where the believers rejoice in the finished work of the Cross and hope in the promise of resurrection.

The faithful attending Mass at the Pro-Cathedral for All Souls' Day

“Love overcomes pain,” said His Beatitude to the faithful. For the morning of All Souls' Day, a Mass  was celebrated by him and co-celebrated by Mgr. William Shomali at the Pro-Cathedral. Their prayers were offered as incense to God on behalf of the recently departed souls. The Patriarch concluded his homily saying, “For us believers, death is not the end but only a passage to home.”