Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

Catholics believe that it is a Christian obligation to pray for the dead; it is a custom which dates as far back as 2 Maccabees 12:42-46. The custom of setting apart a special day for such prayers was first established by St. Odilo of Cluny in all the monasteries of his Benedictine congregation sometime between 998 and 1030.  The custom was soon adopted in several dioceses in the rest of France and eventually spread throughout the Western Church. It was not accepted in Rome until the fourteenth century.

The day of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed is one of a very few number of days when priests are allowed to celebrate more than two Masses. Pope Benedict XV (1914-22) allowed priests to offer three Masses on All Souls Day: one for the faithful departed, one for the priest’s intentions and one for the intentions of the Holy Father.