All Saints Day, November 1
During the year the Church celebrates one by one the feasts of the saints. Today she joins them all in one festival. In addition to those whose names she knows, she recalls in a magnificent vision all the others "of all nations and tribes standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, proclaiming Him who redeemed them in His Blood."
The feast of All Saints should inspire us with tremendous hope. Among the saints in heaven are some whom we have known. All lived on earth lives like our own. They were baptized, marked with the sign of faith, they were faithful to Christ's teaching and they have gone before us to the heavenly home whence they call on us to follow them. The Gospel of the Beatitudes, read today, while it shows their happiness, shows, too, the road that they followed; there is no other that will lead us whither they have gone.
The Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on, the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints.
We all have this "universal call to holiness." What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven? We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" (Lumen Gentium, 40).
Almighty ever-living God, by whose gift we venerate in one celebration the merits of all the Saints, bestow on us, we pray, through the prayers of so many intercessors, an abundance of the reconciliation with you for which we earnestly long. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
All Souls Day, November 2
All Souls’ Day, also recognized as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, is a holiday of prayer and memorial for the souls of those who have died. Those honoring All Souls' Day traditions often commemorate departed loved ones in numerous ways on November 2nd.
In Catholicism, "the faithful" applies uniquely to baptized Catholics; "all souls" honors the church repentance of souls in Purgatory, whereas "all saints" honors the church triumph of saints in Heaven. In the doctrine of the western Catholic Church, it is named The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.
According to Britannica, "All Souls’ Day, in Roman Catholicism, a day for the commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptized Christians who are believed to be in purgatory because they died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls... Roman Catholic doctrine holds that the prayers of the faithful on earth will help cleanse these souls in order to fit them for the vision of God in heaven, and the day is dedicated to prayer and remembrance."
Priests celebrate mass wearing vestments of varying colour—black (for mourning), violet (symbolizing penance), or white (symbolizing the hope of resurrection).
This is the traditional prayer of the Church for the dead:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.