Incorrectly listed in the Parish Bulletin as beginning on November 30th, the Immaculate Conception Novena is in preparation for that great Feast of Our Lady, and therefore begins on November 29th and ends on the Vigil of the Feast, December 7th:
N.B. “Soul Cakes” come to us from Mexico, and are only a small culinary sampling of the rich Latin American Catholic cultural celebration called “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” (All Souls Day). We thank Mrs. Barbara Stangeland for making the Soul Cakes.
We can pay no greater honor to the Saints than by offering up to God in their name the Blood of Jesus. The efficacy of their past merits and present prayers is greatly increased when offered to God in close association with the merits and prayers of Our Lord. Therefore the Church commemorates on this day all the Saints in Heaven without exception, and thus honors also those who are unknown and who have no public recognition in the liturgy. The custom of keeping holy one day in the year as the festival of all God’s saints, whether commemorated in the Liturgy or not dates back to at least the beginning of the Fifth Century.
In ancient times it was usually called the feast of All Holy Martyrs. The day of its celebration varied; and in the East, even now, All Saints is in most places a movable feast. Pope St. Boniface IV, when dedicating the Roman Pantheon as the Church of Our Blessed Lady and All Holy Martyrs, appointed November I for the chief annual festival in the sacred building.
Pope Gregory III built an oratory at St. Peter’s in honor of all the saints, confessors as well as martyrs who had died in all parts of the world. Pope Gregory IV chose November 1st as the Feast of All Saints. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV.
Text: Theobald Heinrich Schenk, 1719 – Trans: Frances E. Cox, 1841