FRANCISCO-fact: When and how will we celebrate All Saints’ Day this year?
The short and concise answer is St. Francis will be observing the Feast of All Saints on Sunday, November 6 at both the 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM services, with the Eucharist at 10:00 AM being framed by the Rutter Requiem with full choir and additional instrumentalists. The traditional viewing of the faithful departed of St. Francis will occur during the 10:00 AM Eucharist and the necrology of this past year will be read in the Eucharistic Prayer for the morning. This will be both a joyful and reflective service and Franciscans are encouraged to be present and invite friends whose spirituality allows for an honoring of loved ones who have been lost and the beautiful context of a requiem.
Answering this question is something like asking at what time Episcopal Church’s schedules its eight o’clock service. Ours used to be at 7:45 AM. Some churches have their eight o’clock service at 8:30 AM. All this is a way of saying that Episcopalians are not unfamiliar with quirky labeling and observing.
This is true for the observances of the liturgical calendar as well. The full explanation is that the Book of Common Prayer encompasses a belief that the celebration of All Saints Day is such an important moment in the Church’s life that we can transfer the feast day to the closest Sunday following its assigned date of November 1 that date does not fall on a Sunday. This year November 1 is a Tuesday, which means that both All Saints and All Souls Days will have passed by the time we celebrate on Sunday, November 6.
Why does the church allow for this idiosyncrasy?
Well, All Saints Day is one of the principal baptismal feasts of the year, the others being the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, the Great Vigil of Easter, the Feast of Pentecost, and the visitation of the bishop. As you will observe, these feast days all occur on Sundays, a day particularly advantageous to gathering the whole community together for witnessing baptisms and supporting the newly baptized. It is much harder to make such a thing happen on weekdays and Saturdays unless, as with the Easter Vigil, it is a very special day, a weekend, or a governmentally sanctioned holiday.
Plan to be with us as we celebrate the feast day dedicated to faithful Christians, honor those who have gone before, and continue our process of coming back together!