There are two November Holy Days that often become confused.
On November 1st, All Saint’s Day, we honor all those who have attained heaven, and our Church generally focuses on those recognized as saints by the Catholic Church. The color of the vestments are white – representing light, innocence, purity, joy, triumph and glory. In the United States, this is a Holy Day of Obligation, always celebrated on November 1st, but if this occurs on a Saturday or a Monday there is no obligation to go to Mass.
November 2nd, All Souls Day, we pray for all who have died. Many of us have known people that we consider to have lived lives of grace and we feel we know that they surly are now among the saints, and this may well be the case. But this day is a day to pause and pray for all who have died, our family, our friends, and colleagues. The color of vestments worn at Mass are black – representing our mourning and sorrow. As Timothy prayed for a the faithful Onesiphorus who had died we too may pray: “May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day” (II Timothy 1:18).
Every culture has traditions around remembering those who have gone before us, and as a Church we are united in prayer. I’ve always especially loved the way those in Cameroon refer to those who had died as “Of Blessed Memory”.
And so we pray:
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them May they and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
We invite everyone to submit the name of someone who is “Of Blessed Memory” to Mission Doctors. We will add their name to the basket at the altar for Mass on All Souls Day, and the names will remain on the altar at our Mission House throughout the month of November. https://www.missiondoctors.org/feast-of-all-souls/
The readings for All Souls are readings that reassure us of God’s Love and Mercy http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110217.cfm