All  Souls  Saturdays

     A beautiful part of our Catholic tradition is praying for those who have departed from this earthly life.  We pray for the repose of their souls, the forgiveness of their sins and that they may rejoice in eternal life in heaven.  We pray for the souls of the departed in the daily prayers and services of the Church, as well as in our own personal prayers and by offering Liturgies for them.  The Church dedicates each Saturday of the year to the souls who have gone into eternity, but have not yet entered into eternal rest in heaven.  In addition, there are certain Saturdays of the Liturgical Year which are specifically dedicated to remembering and praying for the dead.  These Saturdays are called All Souls Saturdays.  They include Meat fare Saturday, the second, third, and fourth Saturdays of the Great Fast, and the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday.

     Why these specific Saturdays?  The theme of Meat fare Sunday is the Last Judgment.  It is fitting that we pray the day before for all Christians who have fallen asleep, especially those for whom no one prays, so that they may stand worthily before God at the Final Judgment.  The Saturdays of the Great Fast are appropriate for remembering the dead since this is a time for increased prayer, especially for the repose of those who have departed.  Because the descent of the Holy Spirit is the final act in our redemption, we want those who have fallen asleep to also share in the graces of this act.  Therefore, we honour their memory on the Saturday before Pentecost.