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.
On November 4 there is also the commemoration of the holy martyrs Sts. Vitalis and Agricola. St. Vitalis, the servant of St. Agricola, by his courage in bearing the most atrocious tortures for the Faith, encouraged his master to die bravely with him for Christ. They suffered at Bologna in Italy about the year 300.
INTROIT Apocalypse 5: 12, 1
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast day in honor of all the Saints, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and join in praising the Son of God. Ps 32:1 Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright if fitting. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast granted to honor in one solemn Feast the merits of all Thy Saints: we beseech Thee, that since so many are praying for us, Thou wouldst pour forth upon us the abundance of Thy mercy, for which we long. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Apocalypse 7: 2-12
Lesson from the Book of The Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle. In those days, behold, I, John, saw another Angel ascend-ing from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four Angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them that were signed: a hundred and forty-four thousand were signed out of every tribe of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Rube twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Aser twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Nephthali twelve thousand signed of the tribe of Manasses twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of lssachar twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Zabulon twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand signed. After this, I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands and they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the Angels stood round about the throne, and the ancients, and the four living creatures and they fell down before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, saying, Amen. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgivinq, honor, and power, strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 33: 10, 11
Fear the Lord, all ye His Saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. V. But they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Matt. 11: 28) Come to Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 5: 1-12
At that time: Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain: and when He was sat down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth, He taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for They shall have their fill. Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you, and speak ail that is evil against, untruly, for My sake: be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Wisdom 3: 1-3
The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them: in the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, but they are in peace. Alleluia.
We offer Thee, O Lord, the gifts of our devotion; that they be made pleasing to Thee for the honor of all the just and, by Thy mercy, be profitable to ourselves. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt. 5: 8-10
Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God: blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Grant to Thy faithful people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever to rejoice in the veneration of all Thy saints and to be defended by their unceasing prayers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.