The Solemnity of All Saints, Nov. 1, is an opportunity to study, learn from, and celebrate the saints.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, writing in the St. Louis Review in 2018, explained some are obscure saints — men and women of every time, place and culture. All are worth studying, “because each has a lesson for us. Perhaps, as much as anything, they teach us by their obscurity that you don’t have to be famous to be holy,” he wrote.
All Saints Day, as it is also known, is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means Catholics are to attend Mass. In addition to Masses throughout the archdiocese, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis will have a collection of more than 140 relics on display in its All Saints Chapel from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the holy day. The Saint John’s Bible also will be out for viewing in the chapel. Docents will answer questions about the relics and the hand-written and illuminated Bible. An illuminated Bible gives the viewer a different experience in which Scripture is encouraged to be seen and read aloud.
The Solemnity of All Saints pays homage to the women and men officially recognized by the Catholic Church for their holiness. They inspire us to grow in holiness to join them one day in heaven. Whether prominent or obscure, saints are ready, willing and able to help us on life’s journey. All we need to do is ask them to pray for us.
Quoting from “Popular Devotional Practices,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops state that through their prayers of intercession, the saints in heaven play an integral role in the life of the Church on earth. “For after they have been received into their heavenly home and are present to the Lord, through Him and with Him and in Him they do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, showing forth the merits which they won on earth through the one Mediator between God and man.” The saints, the members of the Church who have arrived at perfect union with Christ, join their wills to the will of God in praying for those in the Church who are still on their pilgrimage of faith.
By practicing love of the saints we strengthen the unity of the entire Body of Christ in the Spirit. This in turn brings us all closer to Christ.
Pope Francis, writing in “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), stated that the Lord “wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.” Following Christ, or the path to holiness, is a way of life. The pope cited the lives of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Teresa of Calcutta and many others for whom “mental prayer, the love of God and the reading of the Gospel in no way detracted from their passionate and effective commitment to their neighbors.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to them as “witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,” who share the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, their writing and their prayer today.
Relics on display for All Saints
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis will have more than 140 saints’ relics on display on Friday, Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints. Relics will be on display from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the All Saints Chapel, and docents will be available. In addition, the Saint John’s Bible will be on display, with a docent present from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Masses, including the Litany of Saints, will be celebrated Nov. 1 at 7, 8 and 10 a.m. and 12:05 and 5:30 p.m. The feast of All Saints is a Holy Day of Obligation.