Today is the great solemnity of All Saints.
The earliest observance of a feast in honour of all the saints is an early fourth-century commemoration of “all the martyrs.” In the early seventh century, after successive waves of invaders plundered the catacombs, Pope Boniface IV gathered up some 28 wagon-loads of bones and reinterred them beneath the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. The Pope rededicated the shrine as a Christian church. According to Venerable Bede, the Pope intended “that the memory of all the saints might in the future be honoured in the place which had formerly been dedicated to the worship not of gods but of demons” St. Bede in On the Calculation of Time.
This feast first honoured martyrs. Later, when Christians were free to worship according to their consciences, the Church acknowledged other paths to sanctity. In the early centuries, the only criterion was popular acclaim, even when the bishop’s approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar. The first papal canonisation occurred in 993. The lengthy process, now required to prove extraordinary sanctity, took shape in the last 500 years. Today’s feast honours the obscure as well as the famous, the saints each of us has known.
This solemnity is a Holyday of Obligation but we are released from the obligation this year in line with the Bishops’ Conference guidelines. However, we are all encouraged to celebrate the day by remembering those who have gone before us in faith and now share the glory of heaven.
As Wales is in a Coronavirus firebreak lockdown until 12:01am on Monday, November 9th, there will be no Masses open to attendees at St. Teilo’s or Our Lady of Lourdes during this period. Mass will continue to be broadcast online each day at 10.00am.
Mass today will be at 10.00am and you are welcome to join us online.
This week’s newsletter can be found here.