"First things first" by Ricardo Bonucelli (askthepixel), flickr, CC BY 2.0

“First things first” by Ricardo Bonucelli (askthepixel), flickr, CC BY 2.0

An unusual thing happens with All Souls Day in 2014. This year, it falls on a Sunday! Here are some things to know about this celebration when it happens on Sunday:

  • The liturgical color for the day is white, violet, or black.
  • At the Saturday night anticipated Mass (your parish’s usual Saturday night vigil), use the readings from the Ritual Mass: “Masses for the Dead” and the prayers for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.
  • Here’s a big difference! The Gloria is omitted at Masses on this day (including your Saturday night Mass).
  • Ritual Masses are forbidden on All Souls Day. That means, if you celebrate baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick, ordination, or a wedding (on any of the other Ritual Masses you find in the Roman Missal), you must use the readings and Mass prayers for All Souls. So just don’t plan to celebrate any of these ritual Masses on these days.
  • Funeral Masses are allowed on this day, meaning, if you celebrate a funeral today, you can use the readings and prayers assigned for the Masses for the Dead.

Night Prayer to conclude All Souls Day

Night Prayer, or Compline, is the last Liturgy of the Hours celebrated each day. It is usually prayed in private or with a community just before going to sleep. So you’ll notice many references to resting and sleeping in the prayers.

Night Prayer might be a great way to end this special Sunday this year at the conclusion of All Souls Day. The structure of the ritual itself is very simple, it’s short (probably about 20 minutes), and you don’t need many ministers to do it well. Consider preparing a Night Prayer liturgy for your parish that is scheduled shortly after your last Mass on Sunday, November 2, 2014.

To help you do this, I’ve prepared an adapted Night Prayer liturgy (Word doc) that you can use in your parish. It uses the official texts for Night Prayer for Sundays, but I’ve included an element of remembering the dead within the liturgy. Feel free to adapt it, use different songs than those suggested, and make it your own, whether for your parish, a small group, or your own prayer to conclude the the day on All Souls this year.