MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1: Western Christians turn their thoughts toward Heaven today, observing the first of two solemn days known as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. (Some Roman Catholic churches, particularly in the United States and England, commemorated All Saints’ Day yesterday because Nov. 1 is a Monday this year.)
In many Catholic countries, today is a national holiday. (Eastern Orthodox Christians observe this day on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Wikipedia has details.)
Although both All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day now fall directly behind the secular holiday of Halloween, the Roman Catholic Church reports that it has always set aside days to honor those who have passed on in faith (find more at CatholicEducation.org), and dates have varied. In early Church history, martyrdom was rather common; when officials realized they couldn’t set aside a day of the year for each martyr, they decided to set aside a collective day instead. For Christians, though, these days are about more than mere commemoration: it’s believed that there is a spiritual communion between those who have died in faith and those who are living in faith. (Dig deeper at AmericanCatholic.org.)
Report of Safety Concerns in the Philippines
For Christians in the Philippines, today’s connection with the faithful departed comes with inceased security from the government. (The Philippine Information Agency has a full article.) As the only Christian country in Asia, the Philippines may experience problems ranging from traffic jams as families visit cemeteries—to an occasion for a terrorist attack, according to this government report.