All Saints Day

All Saints Day is one of the four principal feast days on which baptisms are especially appropriate. The connections with death and the dead highlight the fact of baptism as a death and the incorporation of the baptized into the communion of saints past as well as present.

graveyard procession
Members of Christ Church, Redding Ridge, CT process through the graveyard on All Saints Day.

The recitation of the names of those buried on the church grounds and other names of deceased loved ones of the community reinforces the status of the dead as members of the body of Christ who can continue to illumine our way in the life of faith. The yearly remembrance also gives the community an opportunity to surround those who mourn as part of the regular rhythm of liturgical life.


Consider the following as you plan liturgies for All Saints:

  • What actions might be to explore the idea of “saints” as all people who reveal Christ to us – whether they were famous for their good works or not?
  • How can your community best support those suffering a recent loss as part of the liturgy?
  • How might you use the space of a graveyard, memorial garden or columbarium in the liturgy?
  • If movement, a processional is to be used, how will those with mobility issues be accommodated?
  • What might be done before or after the liturgy to best prepare the space to honor those interred there?
  •  If there is to be a baptism, how will the themes of baptism as a death, a birth, and initiation into the communion of saints each be expressed in action (in addition to the words of the liturgy)?
  • How can the remembrance of the dead best serve as an occasion to minister to those who are still working on forgiving someone who has died?
  • How can remembering the deceased be an occasion for personal challenge and inspiration?

Quick Reference:

Vigil for All Saints BOS p. 106
This liturgy was developed by All Saints, Bay Town, TX.

Collects for All Saints
Traditional BCP p. 194
Contemporary BCP p. 245, BAS p. ____

Proper Prefaces for Holy Eucharist BCP p. 347-348

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