Bishop Robert Deeley celebrates All Saints' Day Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland

Catholics around Maine and the world commemorated the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1, a celebration of the saints both known and unknown and a recognition of own call to holiness.

“Knowing of the happiness of the saints inspires us to follow them as they followed Christ. It is a great sign of hope that there are so many of them who were merciful instead of being hardhearted or who brought peace where hatred and bickering had been present,” said Bishop Robert Deeley, during an All Saints’ Day Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.  “They are the people who demanded righteousness instead of going along with injustice. They preferred to accept being marginalized or even persecuted rather than let society dictate how they were to live.”

The bishop noted that there are a great multitude of saints, so many in fact that virtually every day isn’t the feast day of just one saint but of many, both the well-known, such as St. Francis of Assisi, and those whose names most people would not recognize.

“When all is said and done, no one can count the number of saints. St. John Paul II himself declared over 1300 people as ‘blessed' and nearly 500 more as ‘saints.' Since virtually every day of the year already has a saint, the new ones often share a day with the old ones,” the bishop said. “This countless number of people down through the thousands of years are those good people who lived out the Gospel fully. They are the Christians who took seriously what Jesus proclaims as a way of life for his followers.”

The bishop said that those Christians are not just people from the past but include those who walk among us today.

“We know people in our own lives who are like that. They are the saints among us. We draw hope from them as we spend time with them. They do us good, and we know it is good to be with them. They are not among those who build themselves up at the expense of others. They are not the center of their own lives, and that is why their hands and their hearts are free to attend to the needs of other people,” the bishop said. “Saints are not self-made people. They are those who have responded generously to the love of God that is given to them. The completion of that love is to be invited to share life with God forever in the life to come.”

While on All Saints' Day, we celebrate those who have received that invitation, on November 2, we pray for those still on the journey. On All Souls' Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, Catholics pray for the faithful who have died and are still in purgatory. Many parishes have Masses of Remembrance scheduled. You can find a list at Bishop Deeley will celebrate a Mass at 6 p.m. at the cathedral. During the Mass the names will be read of all those who died at the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes in the last year.

Bishop Robert Deeley, Father Seamus Griesbach, and Msgr. Marc Caron
Father Seamus Griesbach holds up the Book of the Gospels
Statues of saints
Bishop Robert Deeley at the altar