Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day, also known as Solemnity of All Saints or Hallowmas.  It is a holy day on the Roman Catholic Church calendar but many Protestants observe this holy day too.  On this day we remember the saints who have gone on before us, particularly those who have died within the past year.  We give thanks for their witness for the ways in which their lives glorified God, for their faith lived out in our midst.

Who are you thankful for this day?  Whose faith has had an impact on yours?  And if you aren't sure about God and Christianity - I'll simply ask, who do you miss?  Whose love made a difference in your life?

Now to get a bit less reverent -
In searching for a link for All Saints, I came across an interesting little nugget.  I knew that in the RC (Roman Catholic) calendar that All Saints was a day of Holy Obligation (meaning church attendance on this day is considered a must).  I did not know that if you live in the United States it is not a holy obligation if All Saints falls on a Saturday or Monday (you're off the hook this year).  Also if you live in Hawaii it isn't a holy obligation no matter what day it falls on.  Are Mondays, Saturdays and Hawaii somehow special?  How does living in the US versus living in Europe or South American make a religious observance optional when for others it is obligatory?

In Europe the kids get a week off of school for what is called the All Saints vacation.  I'm guessing the Catholics will be observing mass today (it is a day of holy obligation here).  I'm also guessing that most people will ignore this holy day completely.

Honestly I struggle with this.  Here in Europe there a many churches that sit empty or exist mainly as tourist attractions while society as a whole marks the dates on the Christian calendar - All Saints, Christmas, Easter, Lent (the kids get what is called a Pre-Lenten break).  From my point of view these are all mostly empty observances.  I think I'd prefer that the church calendar be ignored all together rather than be used as a calendar for school breaks.

1 comment:

  1. Try to remind me when you call. I've heard some logical explanations for empty churches in much of Europe.