Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All Saints' Day

Today, Christians around the world celebrate the impact that the "great cloud of witnesses" have had on our spiritual lives, as we remember all the saints, great and small, who have gone on before us into glory.

WHAT IS ALL SAINTS DAY?

All Saints Day is a universal Christian Feast that honors and remembers all Christian saints, known and unknown. In the Western Church (especially Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans) it is kept on November 1. The Orthodox Churches observe it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

Ephrem Syrus (d. 373) mentions a Feast dedicated the saints in his writings. St. Chrysostom of Constantinople (d. 407) was the first Christian we know of to assign the Feast to a particular day: the first Sunday after Pentecost.

The Feast did not become established in the Western Church until the Roman bishop Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to Christian usage as a church on May 13, 609 or 610.

The Feast was observed annually on this date until the time of Bishop of Rome, Gregory III (d. 741) when its observance was shifted to November 1, since on this date Gregory dedicated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter's to "All the Saints."

It was Gregory IV (d. 844), who in 835 ordered the Feast of All Saints to be universally observed on November 1.

All Saints is a day to remember and thank God for all saints, both dead and living. It is a day to glorify Jesus Christ, who by his holy life and death has made the saints holy through Baptism and faith.

A PRAYER FOR ALL SAINTS DAY

One of the traditional ways to observe All Saints Day is for Christians to gather together and pray the Litany of the Saints. One person leads, saying the "petition," and the group responds with the "responsory."

Effectively, the Christians are both talking to God and to their brothers and sisters who have gone on before them, asking them to pray for them -- much as a living Christian might ask another to pray for them as well.

Below, the petition is first, and the responsory has an "R."

Lord, have mercy on us.
R Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.
R Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.
R Lord, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God.
R Pray for us.

Saint Michael,
R Pray for us.

Holy angels of God,
R Pray for us.

Saint Joseph,
R Pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist,
R Pray for us.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul,
R Pray for us.

Saint Andrew,
R Pray for us.

Saint John,
R Pray for us.

Saint Mary Magdalene,
R Pray for us.

Saint Stephen,
R Pray for us.

Saint Ignatius,
R Pray for us.

Saint Lawrence,
R Pray for us.

Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity,
R Pray for us.

Saint Agnes,
R Pray for us.

Saint Gregory,
R Pray for us.

Saint Augustine,
R Pray for us.

Saint Athanasius,
R Pray for us.

Saint Basil,
R Pray for us.

Saint George,
R Pray for us.

Saint Patrick,
R Pray for us.

Saint Martin,
R Pray for us.

Saint Benedict,
R Pray for us.

Saint Francis and Saint Dominic,
R Pray for us.

Saint Francis Xavier,
R Pray for us.

Saint John Vianney,
R Pray for us.

Saint Catherine,
R Pray for us.

Saint Theresa,
R Pray for us.

All you saints of God,
R Pray for us.

Lord, be merciful,
R Lord, save us.

From all harm,
R Lord, save us.

From every sin,
R Lord, save us.

From all temptations,
R Lord, save us.

From everlasting death,
R Lord, save us.

By Your coming among us,
R Lord, save us.

By Your death and rising to new life,
R Lord, save us.

By Your gift of the Holy Spirit,
R Lord, save us.

Be merciful to us sinners,
R Lord, hear our prayer.

Guide and protect Your Holy Church,
R Lord, hear our prayer.

Keep all the clergy in faithful service to Your Church.
R Lord, hear our prayer.

Bring all people together in trust and peace.
R Lord, hear our prayer.

Strengthen us in Your service.
R Lord, hear our prayer.

In the name of God,
R the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Amen.
R Amen.

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