All Saints day began May 13 in the 7th century under the charge of Pope Boniface IV. Boniface consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Virgin Mary and Saints in order to baptize the pagan culture and supplement the faithful’s celebration of the saints.
- All Saints Day was then moved in the 9th century to November 1 in order to sanctify the pagan festivals falling on October 31.
- The Latin term for All Saints: Festum omnium sanctorum.
- All Saints Day today is a time to reflect on the communion of saints in the Catholic Church. It is a day to contemplate the three states of the communion of saints.
- The pilgrim church struggling to live faithful lives in this earthly existence,
- the triumphant church of saints already in Heaven,
- and the suffering church, existing in purgatory and awaiting purification and entrance to heaven.
All Souls Day
- Celebrated November 2, began with the decree Bollandist Acta Sanctorum, in the 6th century. It memorializes the faithfully departed and recalls our obligations to live holy lives and that there will be purification of the souls destined for Heaven – in this life or in purgatory.
- All Souls Day also has pagan origins. Originally, the Celts would light candles or fires in order to light the soul’s way to the afterlife. Christians later would offer prayers. An especially popular activity was “souling” in which poorer Christians would offer prayers for the wealthy in return for money or food (called “soul cakes”).