When the Early Church wanted to commemorate the martyrs and saints who were not honored by feast days, either because they were unknown or nameless when they went to their deaths, the answer was the creation of the Feast of All Saints, also known as All Saints’ Day or, in older English, Hallowmas or All Hallows’ Day. (“Hallows” refers to “holy ones” or saints.) Though the holiday has evolved over many centuries, that is its history.
It is wonderful to thank God for the saints who have gone before us and to teach our children about the history of the Christian celebration that gives the holiday its name and to tell them stories of the heroes of the faith. And if we don’t know those stories, we should learn. Stories of the faithful who have gone before offer a perspective for our own life and faith that we cannot get anywhere else.
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