All Saints; All Souls

All-SaintsThis Friday sees us celebrate the Feast of All Saints, a holyday of obligation. It reminds us that we belong to a communion of saints and all those who have gone before us into heaven are our close and dear friends, concerned about us and praying for us.

The celebration of All Saints seems to have started in Ireland with the early Celtic church and was brought over to England when Irish monks settled here in Northumbria. Gradually, the feast spread throughout the whole of Europe and certainly by the ninth century it was established throughout the universal church.

All Souls Day follows All Saints and reminds us that, for most of us, when we die there is still ‘work to be done.’ We pray for the holy souls on this day, conscious that most people when they die require some sort of purification by God before being ready for heaven.