Pope Francis delivers his Sunday Angelus message to about 20,000 faithful in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Oct. 22, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media
Vatican City, Oct 31, 2023 / 08:50 am (CNA).
In the Catholic Church, the first days of November are an important time for remembering those who have come and gone before us — both the holy men and women who are canonized saints in heaven and our departed loved ones we hope and pray are also partaking in the beatific vision.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis will mark this holy and significant season with prayer and two liturgies.
On the solemnity of All Saints on Nov. 1, Pope Francis will give a short address and lead the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square at noon Rome time.
It is the pope’s custom to lead an Angelus on holy days of obligation.
Since All Saints’ Day falls on a Wednesday this year, Francis will not hold his usual weekly general audience.
For All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2, he will continue his recent custom of holding a Mass at a cemetery to pray for the dead.
Since 2016, Pope Francis has celebrated a Mass at five different cemeteries in or near Rome. For All Souls’ Day in 2019, he celebrated Mass at the Catacombs of Priscilla, while in 2022 he did not visit a cemetery but offered Mass for deceased bishops and cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica — another papal custom during the week of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.
For 2023, Francis will again return to a cemetery to mark All Souls’ Day. He will preside over a Mass at 10 a.m. at the Rome War Cemetery, which contains 426 Commonwealth burials from the Second World War.
The small cemetery is near the Pyramid of Cestius, a Roman-era pyramid in the Ostiense neighborhood south of the historic center of Rome.
The following morning, on Nov. 3, Pope Francis will preside over a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the repose of the soul of Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops and cardinals who have died in the previous year. It is the pope’s practice to offer this Mass sometime during the first week of November.