Updated: Nov 18
In the peace of His Majesty, Our Lord Jesus.
May the Immaculate Queen of Mercy and All Saints, Pray for us now and especially at the hour of death and may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. Ave Maria! Siting in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the most famous historical sites in the country, the Alamo. Originally built as a Spanish Mission in 1718, the Alamo’s original name is Mission San Antonio de Valero. On the shrine, if you look close enough, you can still see IHS in the fashion of St. Bernadine of Siena above the top window. You will also find AVMR (Ave Maria) above the doorway. This beautifully ornate doorway is surrounded by 4 empty, church like niches that were once occupied by Saints.
According to Spanish records the two lower niches held statues of St. Dominic and St. Francis which were sculpted by Felipe Santiago, and the top two were filled with statues of St. Clare of Assisi and St. Margarita de Cortona which were sculpted by Dionisio Gonzales. Records even specify that sometime in 1793, someone privately paid for the carving of two more statues, St. Anthony of Padua, and King St. Fernando (who the local cathedral is named after Est 1731). These new editions were placed in the top niches, replacing St. Clare and St. Margaret, whose statues were likely placed inside the church. A reference from a journal written by Samuel Maverick in 1835 states “The church in the Alamo was not as large as the one in the city and not as pretty either, although traces of its former ornamentation were still visible. In front of the main entrance several high, gray arches were still standing… The exterior of the church was adorned with the statues of several saints carved out of sandstone. Every morning the Mexican women came regularly and knelt before these statues without paying any heed whatsoever to the volunteers as they went in and out of the church." What then happened to these statues? A local historian named Thomas Falconer, visited the Alamo on April 22, 1841, he wrote that the statues of St. Dominic and St. Francis had been knocked down and were missing. He later found the statues "St. Francis in a stream of water near a building & the other in pieces in the workshop of a local American who made various ornaments as remnants of the Alamo.” The workman confessed to hauling the statue out of the stream but swore he did not topple it from the Shrine. Of the two statues still in place in the upper niches, St. Anthony, and St. Fernando; Falconer’s journal indicated that upper statues were "mutilated," but he doesn't say in what way. Just one year later, William Bollaert wrote in his journal: The images of the saints that occupied the four niches are not present. . . on leaving the Alamo we strolled towards the Alameda present on Commerce Street, formerly a public walk and in the ruins of a house and in a garden, now choked up with weeds and full of snakes, thereabout found the statue of San Antonio decapitated, that of San Fernando’s nose, an eye picked out and otherwise injured. Of the 4 original statues all but 1 was missing and headless, For the interior statues it was the same, all were missing except for a statue of St. Teresa of Avila which was heavily vandalized with blasphemes. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that from 1846-1948 the Alamo was occupied by the US Army who used the old Church as Freemason lodge. The headless St. Anthony which was rescued by a Frenchmen named LaBaum can be seen in the Alamo Museum. This raises a very important question: what does the statues of the Alamo have anything to do with the coming feast? The Alamo was Americanized, the old Church of St. Anthony met the iconoclasm of the Puritan empire. The Alamo stands as an American icon of heroism and valor and is therefore deprived of saints. The alamo however was not left deprived of statues. The exterior of the Church was stripped of statues, but the interior was not. Besides the one statue of St. Teresa and the secular statues of the Alamo defenders, the Alamo church was filled with odd Freemasonic statues. Roman and Greek idols filled the niches of old Churches’ interior. In May of 1887, shortly after the Alamo interior was reopened to public tours, a devout Catholic was arrested after breaking into the Alamo building and smashing some of these statues with a sledgehammer. The Alamo stands as a warning, for the Temple of our Souls, not to allow this Freemasonic, Puritan culture to strip us of the Saints and our Catholicity. If Americanism succeeds in tearing down our saints, the temple of our souls will soon be a dwelling for demons. We ought to stay close to the saints, their devotions, and writings. St. Teresa of Avila once wrote: In the Company of Saints we become Saints. The case of the Alamo is the same for Feast of All Saints, which now sits in the shadow of the demonic Halloween celebration. The feast of All Saints is ultimately about the glory of God, the victory of all the saints, the souls in heaven. This holiday and its demonic competitor should server as a reminder of the unseen, both of God and of the damned. The saints are alive and still very much with us, this is why we find them in our Churches with statues and images, as visible reminders of their presence. As reminders of the triumphs of God and His people over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2). This feast also calls the faithful to remember their dearly departed brothers and sisters. To remind us of the suffering of purgatory, those who suffer in it and the most important moment of our lives, the day of judgement, of death. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (2 Maccabees 12:46). Lastly, the saints serve as a reminder against the Protestant lie that we are saved alone. For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). Perhaps this is why the Protestant revolt began on the vigil of All saints, October 31st, 1517. The Protestant revolt who taught its followers not only to leave the Church established by Christ but also to tear down the saints and forget the dead. Christ established a Church and gave it a new commandment: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another (John 13:34-35). The Church is a society, whose hierarchy is established by Christ and commanded to love one another. Christ did not will for each man to interpreting His words as they please, causing a schism that is still working division to this day. This feast is about the unity of the Church, the communion of saints which is defined as: The Communion of Saints means the spiritual union which exists between the members of the Church on earth with one another and with the blessed in Heaven and with the suffering souls in Purgatory.
A Brief history of Allhallows Tide.
The feast of All saints can be traced by to the earliest days in the Church, the first known saint venerated in the Church, besides the ancient prophets who were venerated since before Christ, is St. Stephen martyr, whose martyrdom is recorded in Acts chapter 6-7. As the list of martyrs grew, it became customary to venerate them on the anniversaries of the martyrs’ death. At this time feasts we’re still very localized by diocese, though evidence shows neighboring dioceses beginning to interchange feasts, transfer relics, and to join in a common feast as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (379) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. In the persecution of Diocletian (303-308 AD) the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each individually, this also with the fact that many were martyred whose names were not known. The Church, knowing that God ought to be honored by the veneration of everyone of His martyrs, appointed a common day for all Martyrs. I will pay my vows to the Lord before all His people: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalm 115: 14-15). These feasts for “All Martyrs” were localized, held on the Sunday after Pentecost in Northern Italy and Antioch, and 13 May in Edessa, Turkey, are some of the surviving dates. By the 500s AD records show many places in the western Church celebrating dominica in natale sanctorum ('Sunday of the Nativity of the Saints') after Pentecost. By this time the feast came to expand all Saints, or souls in heaven, and included many praying for the eternal repose of their loved ones, praying they were among those saints in heaven. On May 13, 609 AD, Pope St. Boniface IV, consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary; the feast of dedication Sanctae Mariae ad Martyrs has been celebrated at Rome ever since. It is at this time that we find the driest records of “The Office of the Dead” being prayed generally for the faithful departed. The feast of all saints remained localized by dioceses throughout the Church. On 1 November, 732 AD Pope consecrated an oratory in the Old St. Peter’s Basilica and dedicated it to “the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world.” On the same day, and in the same oratory, Pope Gregory III held a synod to condemn iconoclasm and reaffirm, among river things, the veneration of saints. Many places soon adopted this date as the feast of All saints, continuing the tradition of praying for all the faithful departed. By 800 AD dioceses in Ireland, Scotland, England, Bavaria, and France all celebrated the feast of “of all saints of the world” on 1 November. In 835, Pope Gregory IV, with the assent of the Frankish emperor Louis the Pius and all the bishops, confirmed the feast of All Saints on 1 November and was made a day of obligation. This extending the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church, the vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. For the earliest days of the feast of all saints, it was common to find faithful praying for the faithful departed. it made more official in 998 AD, when St. Odilo, the abbot of Cluny (France), said that all Cluniac monasteries were to offer special prayers and sing the Office for the Dead on November 2, the day after the Feast of All Saints. By the 1085, all western dioceses celebrated the feast of All Saints on November 1st. By 1200, the feast of all souls was universally November 2nd, the day after all saints. The All-Saints octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471–84). on August 10, 1915, Pope Benedict XV allowed all priests everywhere to say three Masses on All Souls’ Day. The two extra Masses were to be offered for all the faithful departed, the other for the Pope’s intentions, which at that time were presumed to be for all the victims of WWI. The permission remains to this day Both the All-Saints vigil and the octave were suppressed by the Liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII in 1955.
How to celebrate the All Hallows Tide.
Celebrations for octave of All Saints are largely regional and cultural. There are general customs that are similar across Christendom. For starters the day is a feast, so you ought to feast. Other general customs are dressing children up as saints, telling personal stories of how a particular saint aided you or visiting shrines or chapels dedicated to particular saints. Another custom families could add is for each member of the family to attempt to learn a new saint and tell the audience later on, perhaps at table. It is important to remember that despite the fact that the Church formally suppressed the octave of All Saints, the Church has still kept the month dedicated to the to the Holy Souls in Purgatory and many other all saint. Nov. 5th is Feast of the Sacred Relics and all Jesuit saints, 6th is the feast of all Irish saints, 8th is the feast of All English saints, 12th is the feast of All Dominican saints, of all Benedictine and Augustinian saints, 14th of all Carmelite saints, 16th of all Servite saints, 19th if all order of Malta saints and 29th all Franciscan saints. Other traditions are related to the faithful departs and poor souls in purgatory. Visiting cemeteries (this act is indulged see further below), telling stories of passed loved ones, and eating the meals of loved ones who have passed are all ways of encouraging future generations of praying for dead and helps us keep our own death before our eyes. Here are some ideas for All Souls’ Day sweets.
Ossi de morti
Pan de muerto.
All souls cookies
Indulgenced Acts for the Faithful Departed
From the fourth edition of the Enchiridion of Indulgences, 1999:
A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed;
on All Souls' Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.
A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead.
devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Requiem aeternam (Eternal rest).
Incorporating Indulgences Acts Through November and the Year:
A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. There are a few cemeteries that have car paths, allowing one to "visit" even if you stay in the car.
The "Eternal Rest" prayer gains a partial indulgence and can be prayed all year. Passing a cemetery and praying the "Eternal Rest" can help the souls in need.
Requiem aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace Amen.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
The Eternal Rest" prayer can be inserted in between decades of the rosary, and can be added to the end of the "Prayer Before Meals":
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord, Amen. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
How to Gain an Indulgence
The following norms are taken from the Apostolic Constitution of Pope St. Paul VI, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 1967, the fourth edition of the Enchiridion of Indulgences, 1968, 1999, the Jubilee Apostolic Penitentiary, The Gift of the Indulgence, 2000 and the Norm of Confession for Gaining a Plenary Indulgence Apostolic Penitentiary, 2005. To obtain this remission there are proper dispositions and certain conditions predetermined by the Church that must be met. Firstly, one must have the intention to gain the indulgence, and perform the works at the time and in the manner prescribed. To gain a Plenary Indulgence (only one per day), the faithful must be in the state of grace and the following conditions must accompany the prescribed act:
have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin.
receive the sacrament of confession.
receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required)
and recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is suggested as a minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added).
Other prayers for the feast of All Saints.
COMMEMORATION OF THE SAINTS.
O all ye Saints of God, vouchsafe to intercede for our salvation, and that of all mankind. V. Rejoice in the Lord, and be glad, ye just. R. And glory, all ye that are right of heart.
Let us pray.
Protect Thy people, O Lord, and preserve them by Thy continual defense, who trust in the patronage of Peter and Paul, and all Thy other Apostles.
Let all Thy Saints, we beseech Thee, O Lord, assist us everywhere; that, while we venerate their merits, we may experience their patronage: grant us Thy peace in our times, and drive away all wickedness from Thy Church: dispose our way, our acts, and wills, and those of all Thy ser-vants, in the good success of Thy salvation: render to our benefactors everlasting blessings, and grant to all the faithful departed eternal rest. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May the souls of the faith-ful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Our Father, silently.
May the Lord give us His peace.
And life everlasting. Amen.
Litany of the saints:
Other prayers for the faithful departed.
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee O Lord! Lord, hear my voice. Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord! wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it? For with Thee there is mercy: and by reason of Thy law I have waited on Thee, O Lord! My soul hath relied on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord. From the morning watch even until night: let Israel hope in the Lord. For with the Lord there is mercy; and with Him plentiful Redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord! And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
V/. Lord, hear my prayer.R/. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful; grant to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins, that by our devout supplications they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
V/. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.R/. And let perpetual light shine upon them.V/. May they rest in peace.R/. Amen.
Litany for the poor souls: