As is the case with most churches, we at Christ the King have blurred the demarcation between the principal feast of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and the lesser feast of All Faithful Departed (November 2). This most likely has to do with practicality – the likelihood of folks coming back to church on the day after the Feast of All Saints’ is not high. So somewhere along the line, churches decided to combine the two celebrations into one. But I think it is important for us to know the difference between the two days on our Church calendar. This coming Sunday, after the Prayers of the People, I will read the Collect for The Faithful Departed, at which point those names will be read aloud, and an acolyte will light a candle in their memory.
Collect for All Faithful Departed:
O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
From Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006:
In the New Testament, the word “saints” is used to describe the entire membership of the Christian community, and in the Collect for All Saints’ Day the word “elect” is used in a similar sense. From very early times, however, the word “saint” came to be applied primarily to persons of heroic sanctity, whose deeds were recalled with gratitude by later generations.Beginning in the tenth century, it became customary to set aside another day—as a sort of extension of All Saints—on which the Church remembered that vast body of the faithful who, though no less members of the company of the redeemed, are unknown in the wider fellowship of the Church. It was also a day for particular remembrance of family members and friends.
Though the observance of the day was abolished at the Reformation because of abuses connected with Masses for the dead, a renewed understanding of its meaning has led to a widespread acceptance of this commemoration among Anglicans, and to its inclusion as an optional observance in the calendar of the Episcopal Church.