3 Feasts for November

All Saints Day
1st November

What is it?

Today the Church celebrates all the saints – canonised or beatified – and all people who have attained heaven. Throughout the year, the Church celebrates the feast of the saints one by one, but on All Saints Day, this celebration joins all the saints and other holy people in festival.

This day should inspire us with tremendous hope. All of the saints in heaven have lived on earth. They have lived lives like our own. They were baptised and marked with the sign of faith and were faithful to Christ’s teaching. They are calling us to follow them.

History

The celebration arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. ‘The Commemoration of All Saints’ was first celebrated in the East. It is believed that Gregory III dedicated a chapel in St Peter’s, Rome, on November 1st, to honour all saints. In 837 AD, Pope Gregory IV ordered its general observance.


All Souls Day
2nd November

What is it?

This day commemorates the faithful departed. It follows All Saints Day. After a day of rejoicing with those who have entered heaven, today’s prayers are for those who are being purified in purgatory and await the day when they will be joined to the company of saints. Purgatory is a place where souls go to be cleansed and perfected before they enter heaven. Through the prayers of the faithful on earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so that they may enter heaven.

History

The custom of praying for the dead dates back to 2 Maccabees 12:42-46. St Odilo of Cluny set apart a special day for the intercession of the faithful on November 2 in his abbey in 998 AD. The celebration was adopted in several dioceses in France and then spread quickly throughout the Western Church. It was accepted by Rome in the fourteenth century.


Christ the King
25th November

What is it?

The Feast of Christ the King establishes the titles for Christ’s royalty over humankind;

  1. Christ is God, the Creator of the universe who has power over all things
  2. Christ is our Redeemer, we are saved by his precious blood
  3. Christ is the Head of the Church
  4. God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as his possession and dominion

The Feast of Christ the King also describes the qualities of Christ’s kingdom;

  1. God’s Kingdom is supreme, extending to all people
  2. God’s Kingdom is universal, extending to all places and nations
  3. God’s Kingdom is Eternal, it shall be forever
  4. God’s Kingdom is spiritual, it is not of this world

History

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 AD, to be celebrated throughout the Universal Church. He was addressing the rise of secularism and wanted to establish Christ’s authority and existence, as well as the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority.