All Saints, All Souls, and the Blessing of Graves

St Augustine’s marked the great feast of All Saints with a solemn Mass at 12 noon, sung by the Victoria Consort. Mass was held in the Extraordinary Form on 1st November at the High Altar.

The music was: Missa O quam gloriosum (Tomás Luis de Victoria)

Credo III

Salve Regina (solemn tone)

Introit: Gaudeamus omnes

Gradual: Timete Dominum

Alleluia: Venite ad me

Offertory: Justorum animæ

Offertory motet: Justorum animæ (Orlande de Lassus)

Communion: Beati mundo corde

Communion motet: O quam gloriosum (Tomás Luis de Victoria)

Organ voluntary: Placare Christe servulis (Colin Mawby)


On All Souls, transferred to Monday 3rd November, a Requiem Mass was celebrated at the High Altar. This was followed by the blessing of the graves, beginning in the church with the Pugin tomb at the Chantry chapel. Then the graves of the churchyard were blessed, with particular attention to the graves of the monks of St Augustine’s Abbey and graves of family members of congregants of the Mass.

The practice of blessing the graves is a particular way of praying for – and being reminded to pray for – the dead. The souls in Purgatory benefit from our prayers and penances when applied to them, and so this is a charitable act for the dead. It is particularly appropriate on All Souls Day, which is the day set aside for prayers for the dead who are awaiting the Beatific Vision in Purgatory, and as November is the month with particular emphasis on those holy souls.

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