top of page

All Souls' Day Traditions

The Church teaches that there is a Communion of Saints, those on earth (the Church Militant), those that are in Purgatory (the Church Suffering), and those that have made it to eternal glory in Heaven (the Church Triumphant). The faithful souls being purified in purgatory are celebrated on November 2nd, but also the entire month of November. On this day we remember and honor them for the lives that they lived in great faithfulness to God so as to make it to Purgatory, and we also pray for them as they are being purified.

Revelation 21:27 speaks of Heaven in this way, "...nothing unclean shall enter it." While we might not see the word purgatory in Scripture, we know that it means to purge, or to cleanse, and that this is important to being with Our Lord in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

The theological meaning behind this feast day is that upon death, souls depart from the body and are to be cleansed from their venial sins before receiving the beatific vision. The faithful on earth can assist these souls with prayer and sacrifice, especially offering Mass for them.

We all have loved ones that have passed away, people that were special to us or left an impact on our lives in one way or another. In honor of those lives, I have listed seven ways that we can not only remember them, but also show that we are still bonded to them as a Communion of Saints.

1. Remember the faithful departed

Put up pictures of relatives that have passed away with a small tea light in front of each picture. This way your family can remember to pray for their souls and share fond stories of your passed loved ones. Keep it up all November!

I had these "Eternal Rest" frames made as a Liturgy Market exclusive so that you could add a special photo to your home altar. Thank you rough2rustic for doing this for us! On November 1st, 2022, you can click the photo below to purchase, print a picture of your loved one, and hang on your home altar.

2. Make a Memorial Candle

Purchase a glass candle from the dollar store and write their names on the outside or you could print their picture and names then tape it on. This is an easy and inexpensive way to honor the souls that we are praying for in our home.

These were made with dollar store pillar candles, a printed photo of the beloved deceased, and mod podge.

3. Visit a Cemetery

Visit the cemetery of a family member that has passed and pray for their soul. You could also read from scripture, pray a litany of the holy souls, walk around, or bring flowers to freshen up their grave.

4. Pray the Requiem Aeternam

This is a traditional prayer for the poor souls in purgatory that you can pray on All Souls Day. My family prays the second half of this prayer every time we say grace over our meals.

Prayer Before Meals

Bless us, O Lord,

and these Thy gifts,

which we are about to receive

from Thy bounty through Christ, our Lord.


Prayer After Meals

We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits,

O Almighty God,

who livest and reignest world without end.


May the souls of the faithfully departed,

through the mercy of God,

rest in peace.


5. Learn about the phrase "Memento Mori"

This means that we are to remember our own death, not out of a negative sense of fear, but a holy fear as a way of drawing us into a deeper relationship with Christ and virtue. When we meditate on our own death and the death of Christ, we are to remember the victory that was won for us, and live in accordance with that. There are lots of Memento Mori products out there to help remind us of this, check out some of them.

6. Make Soul Cakes

During the Middle Ages, peasants and children called "soulers" would go around singing and praying for the souls of the dead. They would go door to door and beg for a soul cake in exchange for praying for that person's deceased family members. The story tells us that if the family did not give them a soul cake, their house would be cursed! This is thought to be the beginnings of what we now know as trick or treating.

The Traditional All Hallows' Eve Song for Soul Cakes

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!

I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!

One for Peter, two for Paul,

three for Him what made us all!

Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.

An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good thing to make us all merry.

One for Peter, two for Paul, & three for Him who made us all.

7. Request for a Mass to be offered for the dead

In 1902, Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Mirae Caritatis beautifully emphasized the connection between the communion of saints with the Mass: “The grace of mutual love among the living, strengthened and increased by the Sacrament of the Eucharist, flows, especially by virtue of the Sacrifice [of the Mass], to all who belong to the communion of saints. For the communion of saints is simply… the mutual sharing of help, atonement, prayers, and benefits among the faithful, those already in the heavenly fatherland, those consigned to the purifying fire, and those still making their pilgrim way here on earth. These all form one city, whose head is Christ, and whose vital principle is love. Faith teaches that although the august Sacrifice can be offered to God alone, it can nevertheless be celebrated in honor of the saints now reigning in heaven with God, who has crowned them, to obtain their intercession for us, and also, according to apostolic tradition, to wash away the stains of those brethren who died in the Lord but without yet being wholly purified.”

Remembering you and the special intentions that you hold in your heart today, and I ask that you please pray for me in return.

And may the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen.

God love you,


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page