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By means of the decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary “confirms and extends for the entire month of November 2021 all the spiritual benefits already granted on 22 October 2020” – that is, it allows the faithful to gain plenary indulgences for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery on every day in November and praying for those who have died; normally, the indulgence is limited to the first eight days of the month. A second plenary indulgence is also established for the day of the commemoration of the faithful departed, All Souls’ Day, November 2. The current decree allows the faithful to obtain that indulgence for the benefit of the deceased on any day of November, at their choice.
The Sacred Heart & St Margaret's is parish of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh a charity registered in Scotland number SC008540  

 

Let’s start with Halloween.

 

We all know trick-or-treaters’ ask for candy door-to-door in costumes ranging from adorable to frightening, but the holiday does not have roots in either candy or costumes.

 

Long ago in Ireland and Britain, Christians would come together on All Hallows Eve to ask for God’s blessing and protection from the evil in the world. The source of the modern celebrations stemmed from the donning of saintly and evil spirit costumes to act out the battle between good and evil.

 

According to dictionary.com, the word “Halloween” is a “direct derivation of All Saints Day” with “All Hallows” in Old English meaning “the feast of the saints.”

 

“Halloween” has also been translated to “Eve of All Hallows,” which was a holy day celebrating the day before All Saints Day, that Reverend Richard Donohoe, the vicar of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Birmingham, described as “a celebration of the communion of saints, those people we believe are in heaven, through good works and God’s grace.”

 

All Saints’ Day is celebrated the first day of November while All Souls’ Day is celebrated November 2nd.

 

All Saints’ Day is a day Catholics offer prayers to those in purgatory. Reverend Donohoe said, “All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are related, but they are two separate celebrations. On All Saints’ Day there’s a call to live as saints, to remind us how we’re supposed to live. On All Souls’ Day, we’re talking about all souls and asking God’s mercy for them.

 

“We’re talking about those people who have died before us, and their process of getting to heaven, through Christ … It has its roots all the way back to the fourth century.” It is on this day that the Book of the Dead is opened to allow parishioners to write the names of relatives to be remembered.

 

Reverend Donohoe described that the book is “placed near the altar” and “That’s done all through November. It’s an All Souls’ tradition…”

 

All Souls’ Day is a commemoration of the faithfully departed and is observed primarily in the Catholic Church. Its origins date back to European folklore related to customs of veneration practiced worldwide through evens like the Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) or the Chinese Ghost Festival.

 

To remember the departed, many cultures prepare meals for the souls of the dead, light candles or leave flowers on relatives’ graves and some anoint tombstones with holy water or pour milk over them.

 

All Souls’ day is celebrated November second and if that day happens to fall on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls and Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) for the Dead can be said while people participate.


Each celebration touches on cultural beliefs about the spirit world, honoring the dead and feasts, so when you celebrateHalloween this year remember to prepare for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day as well.


By Kenya Sinclair

 

 

 

Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day: 
What’s the difference?
31 October 2018