All Saints and All Souls: What's the Difference?

Q. What’s the difference between All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?

A. On All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1), we honor all the saints of God, known and unknown, which means all those who have been fully perfected and united to Him in love in heaven. Though thousands of these holy ones have been formally recognized by the Church and have their own memorial days on the Church calendar, many more have never been canonized. Because of this celebration, the unrecognized saints have a feast day as well — no one is left out!

On All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2), we remember all the faithful departed — those who have died in friendship with God but are not yet saints in heaven because they are still in the process of being purged and perfected. It’s a time not only to remember and honor these Holy Souls in purgatory, but also to offer on their behalf prayers, good works, and the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.