As a short guide and aid to your November liturgical living, I have compiled some quick tips, ideas, and links to bring joy and festivity into your domestic church. This is not a list of every single November feast day, but will be a very good start.
Feast days that you will find in this post!
1. All Saints'
2. All Souls'
4. St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Note: This is not a full list of resources on my blog for feast day celebrations, activities, and recipes in the month of November. Go browse around for saints and feast days that are special to you.
The Month of November is Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Click the graphic below for this Eternal Rest Frame, handmade by especially for Liturgy Market by Rough2Rustic.
All Saints' Day (Solemnity)
All Saints' Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven.
Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints' Day observances tend to focus on known saints --that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.
Generally, All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.
All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints. (Catholic.org)
All Saints' Day Prayer
Bless the many parted souls who lived their lives with grace. Bless the saints in heaven, gathered in that special place.
May we tell their stories and remember all the ways they lived their faith and spent their days.
There is glory and reward, even if at first there’s strife. Oh, blessed saints, you help us see a path that’s to eternal life.
May we always hold them dear and know their life and place. May we know their inspiration and aspire to their grace.
All Souls' Day
On All Souls’ Day the universal Church prays for all those in purgatory, people who were much like us, whose offense may have been less than ours. By pleading for them, we are inspired to lead purer lives. On that day, and during the entire month of November, we remember our departed brethren as we go to the cemetery where they are buried, attain indulgences for them, give alms, do some good work, ask for Masses to be said in remembrance, all on behalf of those close to us and to others we may have neglected during the year.
We also light candles, and in some parishes the faithful display pictures of their deceased loved ones in the church. Church bells are sometimes rung to remind everyone to pray for the poor souls in purgatory. Priests are authorized to say three Masses on this holy, somber day. (Simply Catholic)
Eternal Rest Prayer
Eternal rest grant unto them , O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
St. Martin of Tours
A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.
Born of pagan parents in what is now Hungary, and raised in Italy, this son of a veteran was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the army. Martin became a Christian catechumen and was baptized when he was 18. It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier. At 23, he refused a war bonus and told his commander: “I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.” After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers.
He was ordained an exorcist and worked with great zeal against the Arians. Martin became a monk, living first at Milan and later on a small island. When Hilary was restored to his see following his exile, Martin returned to France and established what may have been the first French monastery near Poitiers. He lived there for 10 years, forming his disciples and preaching throughout the countryside.
The people of Tours demanded that he become their bishop. Martin was drawn to that city by a ruse—the need of a sick person—and was brought to the church, where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop. Some of the consecrating bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.
Along with Saint Ambrose, Martin rejected Bishop Ithacius’s principle of putting heretics to death—as well as the intrusion of the emperor into such matters. He prevailed upon the emperor to spare the life of the heretic Priscillian. For his efforts, Martin was accused of the same heresy, and Priscillian was executed after all. Martin then pleaded for a cessation of the persecution of Priscillian’s followers in Spain. He still felt he could cooperate with Ithacius in other areas, but afterwards his conscience troubled him about this decision.
As death approached, Martin’s followers begged him not to leave them. He prayed, “Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Your will be done.” (Franciscan Media)
Blessing for the Feast of St. Martin of Tours
Lord God, source of all that is good, we praise your holy name on this day in which we celebrate the memory of your faithful servant, Martin of Tours. By the example of his life, renew in us the desire to follow daily in the footsteps of Christ, your Son. Bless this nourishment, which we receive from your bounty. May it strengthen us for your service. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
As the daughter of the Hungarian King Andrew II, Elizabeth had the responsibilities of royalty thrust upon her almost as soon as her short life began in 1207. While she was still very young, Elizabeth's father arranged for her to be married to a German nobleman, Ludwig of Thuringia.
The plan forced Elizabeth to separate from her parents while still a child. Adding to this sorrow was the murder of Elizabeth's mother Gertrude in 1213, which history ascribes to a conflict between her own German people and the Hungarian nobles. Elizabeth took a solemn view of life and death from that point on, and found consolation in prayer. Both tendencies drew some ire from her royal peers.
For a time, beginning in 1221, she was happily married. Ludwig, who had advanced to become one of the rulers of Thuringia, supported Elizabeth's efforts to live out the principles of the Gospel even within the royal court. She met with friars of the nascent Franciscan order during its founder's own lifetime, resolving to use her position as queen to advance their mission of charity.
Remarkably, Ludwig agreed with his wife's resolution, and the politically powerful couple embraced a life of remarkable generosity toward the poor. They had three children, two of whom went on to live as as members of the nobility, although one of them –her only son– died relatively young. The third eventually entered religious life and became abbess of a German convent.
In 1226, while Ludwig was attending to political affairs in Italy, Elizabeth took charge of distributing aid to victims of disease and flooding that struck Thuringia. She took charge of caring for the afflicted, even when this required giving up the royal family's own clothes and goods. Elizabeth arranged for a hospital to be built, and is said to have provided for the needs of nearly a thousand desperately poor people on a daily basis.
The next year, however, would put Elizabeth's faith to the test. Her husband had promised to assist the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the Sixth Crusade, but he died of illness en route to Jerusalem. Devastated by Ludwig's death, Elizabeth vowed never to remarry. Her children were sent away, and relatives heavily pressured her to break the vow.
Undeterred, Elizabeth used her remaining money to build another hospital, where she personally attended to the sick almost constantly. Sending away her servants, she joined the Third Order of St. Francis, seeking to emulate the example of its founder as closely as her responsibilities would allow. Near the end of her life, she lived in a small hut and spun her own clothes.
Working continually with the severely ill, Elizabeth became sick herself, dying of illness in November of 1231. After she died, miraculous healings soon began to occur at her grave near the hospital, and she was declared a saint only four years later. (CNA)
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Prayer
O God, by whose gift Saint Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and revered Christ in the poor, grant, through her intercession, that we may serve with unfailing charity the needy and those afflicted. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)