When considering holidays in November, most people immediately think of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. However, the Catholic Church celebrates two important holy days back-to-back—All Saints' and All Souls’ Days.
All Saints is a holy day of obligation that is normally celebrated on Nov. 1. If the first day of November falls on a Saturday or Monday, at least in the United States, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated. All Souls’ Day takes place on Nov. 2, unless it falls on a Sunday; then the celebration is held on Nov. 3.
All Saints’ Day honors the martyrs, the saints, and the confessors, including all known and unknown, who have gained the reward of heaven. On All Souls’ Day, the universal Church prays for all those in purgatory. On that day, and during the entire month of November, we remember our departed brethren as we go to the cemetery where they are buried, attain indulgences for them, give alms, do some good work, ask for Masses to be said in remembrance, all on behalf of those close to us and to others we may have neglected during the year.
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