On November 2, after celebrating the feast of All Saints on November 1, the Church prays for all who, in the purifying suffering of Purgatory, await the day they will join in heavenly glory.
All Souls’ Day was originally was celebrated in the Easter season, around Pentecost Sunday, and still is in the Eastern Catholic Churches. By the 10th century, the celebration had been moved to October. Sometime between 998 and 1030, St. Odilo of Cluny decreed that it should be celebrated on November 2 in all of the monasteries of his Benedictine congregation. Over the next two centuries, other Benedictines and the Carthusians began to celebrate it in their monasteries as well, and soon it spread to the entire Church.
Interestingly, this feast has no specific readings assigned to it. Pastoral judgment allows us to choose from a wide selection of readings for the Masses of the Dead. The readings that appear here are those that are listed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as the readings for this celebration.