All Saints’ Day: the meaning according to Pope Francis

Over the very first years of his Papacy, Pope Frances shared his thoughts about the meaning of All Saints’ Day. We collected and summarized them in five illuminating quotes, which could help us experience and celebrate this very ancient Christian event. Before reading what Pope Frances said, you might need a brief reminder about the Feast of All Saints’ origin and purpose.

All Saints’ Day origin and purpose

All Saints’ Day — also known as All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, or Feast of All Saints — commemorates all the saints of the Church. It is celebrated on November 1st in the Western churches, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Eastern churches. In Roman Catholicism, the November 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation: all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day. Last, but not the least, All Saints’ Day is a feast of hope.

The origin of All Saints’ Day cannot be traced exactly, and it has been observed on various days in different places over the centuries. However, the event has been officially established in 835 by Pope Gregory IV, the one who ordered its general observance on November 1st. This celebration date appeared in a 9th-century English calendar. In medieval England, the feast was known as All Hallows’ Day, and this is why its eve is still known as Halloween.

To learn more about this solemnity, we suggest reading this article: three fundamental facts about All Saints’ Day.

All Saints’ Day: food for thought by Pope Francis

According to Pope Frances, All Saints’ Day is the feast of all of us, a holy occasion to increase our faith and hope. Moreover, this is the day when we celebrate humility as the main virtue of all saints. Here are five simple, but illuminating quotes to keep in mind while celebrating All Saints’ Day.
The Solemnity of All Saints is 'our' feast not because we are good, but because the holiness of God touches our lives.

Saints are not perfect models but are people whose lives God has crossed.
Saints have fought to take away the stains and darkness of sin, so as to let the gentle light of God pass through […], this is the purpose of life, even for us.

Saints are the simple, the humble who make room for God, who know how to weep for others and for their own errors, those who stay meek, who fight for justice, who are merciful toward all, who guard purity of heart, who always work for peace and remain in joy, not in hate, and, even when suffering, respond to evil with good.

The feast of All Saints, then, is not celebrated only in honor of those who have reached the goal and attained to heaven. It is also for the many simple and hidden people whom we may know, and who, through everyday holiness, help God to carry the world forward.

To find out more about Saints’ lives, we suggest you check our wide collection of Saints’ statues. Each one tells the unique story of the most popular Saints of Christian tradition.