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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers All Faithful Departed.

If we have trouble thinking of dear old Aunt Polly or Uncle John as being "saints," now is the appropriate time to remember them formally. There are countless departed souls who were faithful Christians but who could hardly be regarded as exemplary saints. We like to remember them and to give thanks to God publicly for them.

This occasion, sometimes called All Souls's Day, is a twin feast of All Saints's Day. It has been observed in the Eastern Church from very early times and was introduced into Western Europe in the tenth century. The sixteenth-century English Reformers cut this festival out of the church year because they did not like to distinguish between "all saints" and "all souls." The New Testament makes no such distinction but, rather, refers to all Christians as saints, stressing the fact that salvation is a gift from God and that none of us earns a special place in his kingdom by our good deeds. This is a good time to remember the unspectacular children of God: those whose Christian witness may have been weak or faltering, but who are still very dear and important to God and to us.

O God, who has brought us near to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of the just, made perfect: Grant us during our pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship, and to become partakers of their joy. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers; Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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