Today Mary, the literal queen of all saints
, is gone from the top 50.
Dipping regularly into the pages of All Saints
becomes a delightful way to absorb a great deal of Christian history and rediscover some of its most luminous figures; it is also a means of enlarging our understanding of holiness.
Because not all the dead were being honored on All Saints
Day, another day was set aside on which those souls still in purgatory could benefit from the prayers of the living.
And, as Robert Ellsberg has shown us in his fine, new book, All Saints
(Crossroad, 1997), Catholics and non-Catholics are enriched by "secular saints" like Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr.
In his book All Saints
(Crossroad, 1997), Ellsberg has compiled 365 such stories--one for each day of the year.
The Byzantine rite, however, still celebrates All Saints
on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
It's the custom of my parish to display its extensive collection of relics in the sanctuary every All Saints