On the first of November, the Catholic Church commemorates the feast of All Saints and on November 2, the feast of All Souls. These two feasts are intimately connected to one another.

What is a “saint” when this word is used to describe a human person? We know that only God is holy. However, the human person is created in his image and likeness and is called to be like him. The repeated refrain in the Book of Leviticus is: “Be holy as I am holy” (11:44 and 45). “You shall be holy as I, the Lord your God am holy” (19:2). “You shall be holy to me for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (20:26). Holiness is the vocation of the human person, which makes concrete the fact that s/he has been created in the image and likeness of the one who created him/her. By this vocation, the human person is called to be a faithful son or daughter to a heavenly Father.

The Catholic Church believes that there are persons who constitute an example of holiness. Some of them are known and the Church proclaims their sanctity and defines them as saints. They are remembered, each one on his or her feast day. However, there are many righteous ones, who lived lives of fidelity to the word of God and loved their neighbors as they loved themselves. Therefore on the feast of All Saints, we thank God for those we have met in our lives or whose faith and good acts we have heard about and who strengthened our own faith and directed our acts so that we might also strive to live lives of holiness.

On the second of November, the Feast of All Souls, the faithful remember those who have died.

Every believer is called to be a saint and perhaps he or she succeeds at certain moments in life to reach the goal of holiness. In the epistles written by the apostles, they call the whole community of faithful, a “community of saints”. Paul the Apostle writes to the community in Rome, calling on them: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

On All Souls, we remember the members of our families, our teachers and our friends, all those who went before us and prepared our way… Especially we remember the founders of our communities and the pioneers who worked to build up the community of Christ in Israel.

On the occasion of these feasts, we offer different versions of the song “Amazing Grace”. The words were written by John Newton in the 18th century. One of the verses expresses faith in eternal life and the peace God promises his beloved.

Image1. Sung by Libera, a boys’ choir
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2. Sung by Mahalia Jackson, the Black American singer
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3. Sung by Elvis Presley, the famous rock star
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4. Sung by Nana Mouskouri
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