Sunday, November 2, 2012. 5:00 pm followed by refreshments in Ahlborn Parish Hall.
Although humans have found ways to honor their departed loved ones since the beginning of time, it was not until Constantine the Great decriminalized Christian worship in 313 A.D. that the Christian Church began commemorating its saints. At the time ‘saints’ was a word meant to include ALL believers, and yet when Pope Gregory IV normalized November 1 in 837 A.D. as the day on which ALL Saints were to be commemorated, popular piety took that to mean the Church’s martyrs and ‘heroes’ of the faith.
As a result, November 2 was designated as a kind of extension to All Saints’ when the more ‘ordinary’ saints of the Church were honored. The feast was called All Souls’ Day, again designating a day on which ALL of the faithful departed were to be remembered. Eventually, however, the day fell out of favor when it also became a time to offer prayers for those in ‘purgatory’ –a place some believed was an intermediate ‘station’ after death for further purification before entering heaven.This belief was not held by Protestants, who in time merged All Saints and All Souls into one. Moreover, it was not held by Anglicans, who abolished All Souls’ Day during the Reformation, and who did not see its return in The Episcopal Church USA until 1979.
On November 2, St. Christopher’s celebrates All Souls’ Day–The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed–with Solemn Evensong and the lighting of candles for the ‘ordinary’ saints of the faith. In fact, while the choir chants the Litany of the Saints tonight—remembering saints, angels, and martyrs upon whom Christianity was founded—those gathered are invited to come forward to remember their own loved ones by lighting a candle and placing it on the altar during worship.