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Campus Ministry

Solemnity of All Saints

By Ellen Garmann, Associate Director of Campus Ministry-Liturgy

On November 1st, the Roman Catholic church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. On this day, all of the Saints, but especially those who do not have their own designated day, are remembered and appreciated for their witness of faith. Whether by humble witness, outlandish example, heroic death, or something entirely different, these are the ancestors in faith that are recalled in our Christian family memory and whose lives are used to inspire our personal paths to holiness.

The Catholic concept of Saints has often been misrepresented and misunderstood. They are not replacements for God, nor are they worshipped as idols. Instead, the Saints comprise a collective Christian family history. It seems that most families have figures within them that seem larger than life--those who have approached life in a heroic, unbelievable, or inspiring way. Those beloved family members have their memories kept alive through shared stories, having their favorite objects passed down, and remembering their presence within the context of the family. So it is with the Saints.

Just like our relatives, the memory of the Saints and their spiritual presence is available any time we recall them. Like Grandma’s oil lamp passed down, or keeping a hair trimming from a first haircut, things unique and special to the saints are preserved and known as relics. Just like we might request our family members to pray for us because it brings us comfort, so too, the Saints may be asked to pray for our needs--this is called intercession. Just like there are funny stories about aunts and uncles, whether mundane or extraordinary, true or embellished, the stories of saints are kept alive when they are remembered.

Perhaps most importantly, though, are the ways in which believers can draw from the Saints’ lives for strength and inspiration within our own. There is comfort in knowing we are not alone, and that other people may have experienced similar trials. May the Saints be our friends and guides throughout the year.

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