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All Souls’ Day and a New Series for November

Saturday, November 02, 2019

News On the 2nd of November, the Church celebrates All Souls' Day. Following an ancient tradition of prayer for the dead during this month, the student brothers will begin a series of posts to commemorate some deceased members of the Order of Preachers.

After celebrating the glory of the saints in heaven on the 1st of November, the Church turns today to the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, commonly known as All Souls’. On this day especially, and throughout the month of November, she calls to mind and prays for those of her members who after death are still being purified of sin and prepared for the vision of God's glory.

The date of this commemoration, 2nd of November, goes as far back as the 11th century, when St Odilo, the abbot of Cluny, ordered it to be held annually in the monasteries of his congregation, although special days dedicated to praying for the dead were already common not only in monastic orders but also in early Christian communities. In fact, every day during the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass the priest remembers all those who have ‘fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection.’ Thus there is no Mass in which the Church does not pray for the faithful departed, but today her thoughts are directed towards them in a particular fashion, with the maternal preoccupation of leaving no soul in purgatory without spiritual aid and grouping them all together in her intercession.

Dominicans have always made a special point of praying for the dead, and commemorating their own deceased: on a daily basis we read out the names of those whose anniversaries fall that day, and recite customary prayers for their peaceful repose. This tradition is particularly felt to be in keeping with the Order's mission to work for the salvation of souls and to administer the balm of God's mercy. For those who are still alive, that can mean preaching and hearing confessions, but for the dead we have only our prayers to offer, especially in the celebration of Mass.

In keeping with this tradition of the Order, and a resuming an old custom of this blog, we would like to offer you over the coming month some insight into the life and teaching of Dominicans from this and other provinces, some better known and some less, so that the good work they carried out in life may continue to take effect instructing and inspiring us; and so that you may join us in praying for their happy repose, the reception of their eternal reward in heaven.

Photo: All Souls' Day (1888), painting by Jakub Schikaneder (Wikimedia Commons)

See other posts from the series:



Margaret Martin commented on 02-Nov-2019 06:04 PM
Please remember the Dominican nuns buried at Headington, at the former Priory of All Saints and All Souls, 1923-1968. I hope someone has time to visit their graves too.

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