HYDERABAD: All Souls Day is a significant day of remembrance and prayer celebrated by the Christian community. While it is commonly known as a day to remember and pray for the departed souls, there is a deeper and more profound significance to this observance.
Rev K James Cecil Victor, Presbyter in charge at Wesley Church, Secunderabad, explains the Christian perspective on why this day is celebrated, “All Souls Day is all about commemorating the departed. We visit the graves of our loved ones to remember them in a special way and pay our respects to all who have passed away. In the Bible, we are reminded that ‘It is a blessing to remember the just and the righteous.’ Therefore, it is important to remember those who led wonderful lives and set moral examples for us.
The religious significance lies in reaffirming our creedal statement, which includes belief in God the Son, the Holy Spirit, one church, the forgiveness of sins, a communion of saints, and the resurrection of the body. While the Protestant Church does not pray through saints, we acknowledge that the departed have communion with the saints. Another important aspect is reaffirming our faith in life after death, which leads us to contemplate life more deeply.
Visiting the graves of our loved ones serves as a reminder that life is impermanent, and it prompts us to prepare for a fuller life. This is the essence of All Souls Day. Before All Souls Day, November 1 is celebrated as All Saints Day, primarily by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, where people believe in saints and celebrate them on this day.”
Fr Raju Alx A E, Convenor of the Family of Faith Foundation India, adds, “All Souls Day is an annual occasion when the church reminds us of the intrinsic value in recalling all the departed in purgatory and praying for their repose. It is a day of hope for the entire church.
This feast was established in 998 AD by St Odilo, the first Abbot of Cluny, with November 2 chosen to immediately follow the feast of All Saints. This sequence honours the church triumphant in heaven on November 1 and the very next day turns the church’s gaze onto the church suffering in purgatory. This demonstrates the supernatural bond of the communion of the saints. The Catholic Church has enriched the custom of visiting cemeteries to pray for the deceased during the octave by offering a plenary indulgence.”
Sharing his perspective on All Souls Day in Hyderabad, Johnson D’Souza, a member of the Anglo-Indian community and a Content Development manager opines, “All Souls Day in Hyderabad is a time when the Anglo-Indian Catholic community comes together to honor and remember our departed loved ones. It is a day filled with prayers, remembrance, and the warmth of shared traditions, reminding us that our cherished memories continue to shine brightly even in the face of loss.
As we gather to light candles and offer our prayers, we find solace in the belief that their souls are at peace. All Souls Day is a time to celebrate the lives that once graced our own, a day that transcends time and brings us closer to the ones we hold dear, who live on in our hearts and in the tapestry of our city’s history.”