Month of the Holy Souls (Days 1-2)
November 01, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Readings, Music and Prayers for the Month of the Holy Souls

Day 1 (Solemnity of All Saints)

A reading from the second Book of Maccabees (12:43-46)

Judas, the ruler of Israel,
     took up a collection among all his soldiers,
     amounting to two thousand silver drachmas,
     which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice.
In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way,
     inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
     for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again,
     it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward
     that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness,
     it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead
     that they might be freed from this sin.

From a sermon on All Saints and All Souls Day by Fr. Karl Rahner

All Souls’ Day is the day of everyone who has died and gone home into the eternal love of God. Today, then, we want to remember before God our dead, all those who once belonged to us and who have departed from us. In true love no one can replace the beloved, for true love loves the beloved in those depths where each is uniquely and irreplaceably oneself. That is why each one of those who has passed away has taken a part of our heart away: they may be said even to have taken the heart with them, if death has trodden through our lives from beginning to end.

If one has really loved, and continues to love, then even before one’s own death our life is changed into a life with the dead. Could the lover forget his dead? If one has really loved, then one’s forgetting and the fact that one has ceased weeping are not signs that nothing has really changed, that one is just the same as before. They are, rather, signs that a part of one’s own heart has really died with the loved ones, and is now living with the dead. That is why one can no longer mourn. We live, then, with the dead, with those who have gone before us into the dark night of death…

Today, when we stand by the graves, or when our heart must seek distant graves, where perhaps not even a cross stands over them any longer; when we pray, “Lord, grant them eternal rest, and may perpetual light shine upon them;” when we quietly look up towards the eternal homeland of all the saints and – from afar and yet so near – greet God’s light and God’s love, our eternal homeland; then all our memories and all our prayers are only the echo of the words of love that the holy living, in the silence of their eternity, softly and gently speak into our heart. Hidden in the peace of the eternal God, filled with God’s own bliss, redeemed for eternity, permeated with love for us that can never cease, then, on their feast, utter the prayer of their love for us: “Lord, grant eternal rest to them whom we love – as never before – in your love. Grant it to them who still walk the hard road of pilgrimage, which is nonetheless the road that leads to us and to your eternal light. We, although silent, are now closer to them than ever before, closer than when we were sojourning and struggling along with them on earth. Grant to them, too, Lord, eternal rest, and may your perpetual light shine on them as on us. May it shine upon them now as the light of faith, and then in eternity, as the light of blessed life.”… And there will be one, single, eternal feast of all the saints.

Musical Selection (Avro Pärt)

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Amen.


 Lord God,

wellspring of forgiveness

and loving author of our salvation,

in your mercy hear our prayers

and through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints,

bestow on the members of our community,

our friends, relatives, and benefactors

who have passed from this world

a share in your everlasting happiness.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever. Amen.


Day 2 (Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed)

A reading from the Book of Job (19:1,23-27a)

Job answered Bildad the Shuhite and said:
Oh, would that my words were written down!
     Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
     they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
     and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
     my own eyes, not another's, shall behold him;
And from my flesh I shall see God;
     my inmost being is consumed with longing.

From On the Prayer of Job and David by St. Ambrose of Milan
Job heeded what God had spoken to him and also knew through the Holy Spirit that the Son of God would not only come to earth but was going to descend also into hell to raise up the dead – as indeed was done at that time as a testimony of present things and a model of future ones. At the same time, in saying, You will set a time for me, when you would remember me, Job is understood to be prophesying that he was going to be raised up in the passion of the Lord, as is shown clearly in the conclusion of that book. Yet he does not cease to lament, and the more he understands that a resurrection awaits him, the greater his desire to flee from this life. For he sees that he has been given over into the hands of his adversaries and cast down into the power of the unholy. Even his friends have turned into enemies. 
And so, the holy man tearfully laments the circumstances of such a life. I am dying with a tortured spirit, I pray for burial and I do not obtain it. I am supplicating in distress. And what am I to do? My days have passed in horror, the strings of my heart have been broken. Nevertheless, he does not detract from God’s judgement at any point, for he knows that the depth of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God is profound and that his judgements are incomprehensible and his ways unsearchable. Why do you wish to search with care into something which is not advantageous for you to know, nor is it given to you to be acquainted with it? Paul heard certain secrets of wisdom which he was forbidden to make known to others, and so he was caught up into paradise, caught up even to the third heaven, to hear things which he was not able to hear when he was on earth. If it was not permitted to man to speak what he heard, how does he search out that which he has not heard? It is not permitted you to know the counsels of your Emperor on earth, and do you wish to know God’s counsels? 
No one could have known wisdom, because no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Therefore he revealed him to John, since wisdom was with the Apostle, and so he spoke not his own thought, but that which wisdom poured into him: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. Death does not know wisdom, wickedness does not know it. Death indeed could not hold it, for wisdom said, O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? Wickedness does not know it, for wisdom said, The wicked will seek me and they will not find me. These can say, We have heard the fame of it. But it is only God who knows it, because God has established well its way and knows its place. Listen to the disciple then as he tells what wisdom’s receptacle is: The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has revealed him. And so the Father, who knows all things, has seen wisdom and has revealed it through his Prophets. 

Musical Selection (Scott Soper)


I know that my Redeemer lives
The One who calls me home
I long to see God face to face
To see with my own eyes
I know that my Redeemer lives, that I shall rise again
I know that my Redeemer lives, and I shall rise again
I know that I shall one day see
The goodness of the Lord
When God will wipe away our tears
And death will be no more
The last day I shall rise again
Shall be remade like God
My home shall be by God's own side
The dying, rising Lord


God of loving-kindness,

listen favourably to our prayers:

strengthen our belief that your Son has risen from the dead

and our hope that your departed servants will also rise again.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever. Amen.