A Litany for All Saints Day

Below is a litany that is especially suited to Ember Days in November, All Saints’ Day or Reformation Day, or Day of the Dead memorial at the end of October.

Liturgical Notes. This litany works best when read responsively. It can be divided in to multiple parts. Each part can begin with the leader saying, “We call to mind the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in faith…” and concluding the section with the “Grant us…” triplet.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s made to be adapted. It contains some saints recognized by the church and many holy men and women of God who have served the cause of the gospel or the spirit of liberation through the ages. Not all of them are Christian, though all are Christ-like. We encourage each community to add the names of those known locally who have inspired us to live a Godly life in the service of others.

Many of the names listed here will not be familiar to the congregation. We invite you to use the month of November to tell the stories of those who are part of our Great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), including remembering those who have died who personally have influenced us. This litany can also easily be set to a plain chant or other simple musical refrain. Find an easily printable version here.—Rose Marie Berger

All Saints Day: A Litany of the Great Cloud of Witnesses

by Rose Marie Berger

We call to mind the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in faith…

Our parents of earth and life, Adam and Eve…Pray for us.
Mothers Sarah and Hagar, and Father Abraham…Pray for us.
Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel…Pray for us.
Puah and Shiprah…Pray for us.
Miriam, Moses, and Aaron…Pray for us.
Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz…Pray for us.
Daughters of Jeptha…Pray for us.
Daughters of Lot…Pray for us.
Dinah and Tamar…Pray for us.
Bathsheba, Uriah, and David…Pray for us.
Women of Midian…Pray for us.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and all Hebrew prophets…Pray for us.
Judith, Deborah, and Jael…Pray for us.

The Forerunner, John the Baptist…Pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God…Pray for us.
Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah…Pray for us.
Mary of Magdala and Peter…Pray for us.
Andrew and James…Pray for us.
Mathew, Mark, and Luke…Pray for us.
John the Beloved Disciple…Pray for us.
Paul and Barnabas…Pray for us.
Anna, Dorcas, and Lydia…Pray for us.
Priscilla and Phoebe…Pray for us.
John the Revelator…Pray for us.
Stephen, the first martyr…Pray for us.
Perpetua and Felicity…Pray for us.

Amma Sarra, Amma Syncletica, Amma Theodora…Pray for us.
Abba Poemen, Abba Anthony, Abba Macarius…Pray for us.
Mary of Egypt and Elizabeth the Wonderworker…Pray for us.
Matrona of Perge and Theodora of Thessalonike…Pray for us.
Basil, Athanasius, Gregory, and John…Pray for us.
Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome…Pray for us.
Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Sienna, and Thérèse of Lisieux…Pray for us.
Isadore and Maria…Pray for us.
Benedict and Scholastica…Pray for us.
Cosmas and Damian…Pray for us.
Dominic and Diego, Clare and Francis…Pray for us.
John Calvin and John Knox…Pray for us.
Martin Luther and Menno Simons…Pray for us.
John and Charles Wesley and Sarah Gwynne…Pray for us.
All you holy men and women, saints of God…Pray for us.

Grant us your wisdom…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your patience…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your courage…Hear our prayer.

We call to mind the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in faith…

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego…Pray for us.
Juana Inés de la Cruz and Bartolome de las Casas…Pray for us.
Hannah More and William Wilberforce…Pray for us.
Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Tubman…Pray for us.
Ottobah Cugoano, Olaudah Equiano, and Ignatius Sancho…Pray for us.
Sojourner Truth and Joseph Cinquez…Pray for us.
Angela Grimke and Sarah Grimke…Pray for us.
Antoinette Brown and Olympia Brown…Pray for us.
Peter Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky…Pray for us.
Mohandas Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar …Pray for us.
Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin…Pray for us.
Tagashi Nagai and the Martyrs of Nagasaki and Hiroshima…Pray for us.
Agnes Le Thi Thanh and the Martyrs of Vietnam…Pray for us.
Mother Jones and the Martyrs of the Coal Mines…Pray for us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, and Martin Neimoeller…Pray for us.
Maria Skobtsova and Ilya Fondaminsky…Pray for us.
Etty Hillesum, Franz Jaegerstaetter, and Victor Frankel…Pray for us.

Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer…Pray for us.
Abraham Joshua Heschel and Sylvia Straus…Pray for us.
Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King…Pray for us.
Caesar Chavez, Helen Fabela, and the Martyrs of the Fields…Pray for us.
Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane…Pray for us.
Oscar Romero and the Martyrs of El Salvador…Pray for us.
Elizabeth O’Connor and Flannery O’Connor…Pray for us.
Evelyn Underhill, Caryll Houselander, and Henry Nouwen…Pray for us.
William Stringfellow and Anthony Townes…Pray for us.
Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman…Pray for us.
Denise Levertov and Jane Kenyon….Pray for us.
Penny Lernoux, Jean Sindab, and Ginny Earnest…Pray for us.
Rosemarie Freeney Harding and Vincent Gordon Harding…Pray for us.
Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Miriam Carey, and all
#BlackLivesMatter Martyrs … Pray for us.
Dale Aukerman and Ladon Sheats …Pray for us.
Jerry Berrigan, Phil Berrigan, and Daniel Berrigan … Pray for us.
Tom Fox and the Martyrs of Iraq…Pray for us.
Verna Dozier and Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann…Pray for us.

[Invite the congregation to call aloud the names of the dead they want to remember.]

All you holy men and women, saints of God…Pray for us.
Grant us your wisdom…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your patience…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your courage…Hear our prayer.
Amen.

Rose Marie Berger, author of Who Killed Donte Manning?, is an associate editor at Sojourners magazine, a Catholic peace activist, and poet. She blogs at www.rosemarieberger.com.

Ched Myers: 50/500: A Season of Protest and Remembering

by Ched Myers

“[As] we prepare to embrace that great feast of remembering, the “Triduum of Saints”: All Hallow’s Eve, Saints and All Souls Day, or Dia de los Muertos (learn more about the Triduum by reading this blog or linking to this free 2012 BCM webinar).

As I have gotten older this season of the Saints has become my favorite time of year. This morning Elaine and I sat and prayed at our table, pictures of parents and other missed loved ones spread out. We both cried telling stories. Tears always help.

This season is personal, but also political. It reminds us that Movement history matters. A few days ago, on October 27th, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the “Baltimore Four” action. And today is Reformation Day, which this year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous protest, tacking 95 Theses onto Wittenburg’s door.

Luther was publicly naming what he saw as excesses and apostasies in his Roman Catholic Church (see more here), an action that eventually led to the world-historical changes of the Protestant Reformation, for good and for ill. Later in 1521 when called before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, Luther confessed: “My conscience is captive to the Word of God… Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise.”

The Baltimore Four witness, while not nearly as famous, was perhaps equally consequential, inaugurating a series of more than 100 subsequent draft board actions across the country between 1967–72. And it was just the second time in U.S. history that a Catholic priest was arrested for civil disobedience—the first being five days earlier, when Phil’s brother Daniel was arrested at the Pentagon in an anti-war protest …”–Ched Myers

Read Ched Myers’ full reflection and support the work of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.

All Souls Mass at St. Camillus

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The altar at St. Camillus was filled with the photos of loved ones for the Feast of All Souls. It was particularly moving to celebrate this day in a community of immigrants, refugees, and sojourners. So often our dead are buried in a land far away with no one to care for their graves or call their names. On Monday night, the community called the names of those around the world whom we have loved, lost, and through Christ found again.

Joan Chittister: The Feast of All Souls

“All across the world, plants and flowers, trees and flags, mementoes and framed photographs stand on quiet graves to mark that communion of life that one generation feels with another. Our souls stretch always forward, yes, but our hearts stretch always back. The chain of life never breaks, the shape of soul never strains beyond what formed us, what filled us with life in the first place.

We are bound to one another, each generation a link in the chain, each generation a standard for one to come. The people over whose graves we weep are not simply people we have known or who, though strangers, have had the decency to disappear from an earth already overcrowded. No, we cry tears of loss only for those whose lives touched our own and made them better. We cry both for parents and for politicians, for friends and for public figures, for anyone who has lived out “the communion of saints,” the Eucharist of humankind, the Christening of life and made it real in our own time, in our own neighborhoods, in our own world. We weep for those whose faith has formed our own.

When we visit the graves and say the memorial prayers and tell the family stories over the bodies of the dead, we tell of the Christ we saw in them. We remember how it looked in them. We know in them what it is like to be driven by the consuming power of God, to be totally oriented toward God. The communion of saints stands before us, stark witness to the holiness of God, reminding us always to leave behind us for those yet to come a searing memory of the same.”–Joan Chittister, OSB

An excerpt from In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister