This effectively confused two separate liturgies: All Saints' (Nov. 1 and/or the Sunday following Nov. 1) and the commemoration of All Faithful Departed, also known as All Souls' (Nov. 2).
It really does make a difference in the lives of your parishioners to make the distinction clear, as it provides a great opportunity to teach and proclaim an accurate understanding of what we know and do not know about the afterlife.
|St. Michael the Archangel - Patron Saint |
of the Faithful Departed
We are all of us in the process of becoming like Christ, or like God. The Orthodox call this theosis. The Methodists call it sanctification. We are all somewhere on the spectrum between where we started, and God. And when we die, some of us are much farther along than others. The ones who are quite far along we call saints. But we do not all die as saints. Some of us have more work to do in the grave, more progress to make, and more theosis to undergo.
So we pray for the dead, for their benefit and also for the healthy process of mourning that continues in us. We celebrate the saints of the church, and ask them to pray for us. All our prayers arise like incense to the throne of God, and Christ, who died and rose again for us, for the saints, and for the faithful departed, delights in our mutual fellowship.