Why do we celebrate All Saints?

Q. We seem to celebrate saints’ feast days every day of the year. If every saint has a designated feast day, why do we need an All Saints’ Day?


A. When we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints (November 31), the term “saints” refers to all those who have now been perfected and enjoy the Beatific Vision (the vision of God) for eternity. The saints who have been canonized and recognized by the Church, each with a memorial on the liturgical calendar, comprise only a portion of the perfected who are in heaven. Countless more, including many who are now unknown and unremembered on earth, are enjoying face-to-face communion with God in heaven.


We celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, then, to venerate and remember all those who have gone before us to heaven, including those who were never formally canonized and recognized by the Church. In a sense, the feast reminds us that many people who in this life are obscure and unrecognized—including perhaps many whom we ourselves know in our everyday lives—will enjoy eternal union with God. Every person we ever meet has the potential to become a saint, and we should do all we can to help them on their way to heaven.