On November 2, the Church commemorates all the Faithful Departed. The white vestments of All Saint’s day are laid aside, and the dark robes and emblems of mourning are worn to indicate the sympathy of Mother Church for her children, who are being purified in the sufferings of purgatory.
The reason for the commemoration of all the Faithful Departed is the doctrine and belief that all who died in venial sin, or have not fully atoned for other past transgressions, are detained in purgatory, and that the faithful on earth can help them their admission to the joys of heaven by prayers and alms, and especially by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32: “Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out… Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin.”
The memorial day of the dead comes down to us from the first Christians, and, in the course of centuries, November 2 was selected for the annual commemoration of all the Faithful Departed in churches of the Latin rite.
In every land and in every Christian soul resound the mournful tones of prayer for the dead: “Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”
Since August 10, 1915, every priest is allowed to offer three Masses on All Soul’s day: one for all the Faithful Departed, one for the intention of the Pope, and one for the intention of the priest himself. In churches where there are several priests, each offers a Mass or Masses, according to the custom of the diocese for the All Soul’s day intentions.
PRAYER: Merciful God, graciously hear our prayers. As we believe that Your Son rose from the dead, so strengthen our faith in the resurrection of all Your servants. Amen.