School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology


School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

R. Kevin Seasoltz, OSB

Subject Categories

Christianity | Liturgy and Worship


This paper examines the feast of All Saints, encompassing the beloved dead, both known and unacclaimed, as expressive of the paschal mystery in their partaking of the promise of life in the resurrection; it also poses the challenge for the living faithful to see themselves as saints in a recovery of the Pauline understanding of the term. The Feast of All Saints strengthens our full understanding of the communion of saints less solely as perfect individuals, remote in time and place from the present, and more as the faithful community of all times and places sharing in the life of the church. The saints have dual roles as both examples and intercessors, and this paper argues for a balance between heteronomy and companionship, critiquing Elizabeth Johnson’s unilateral endorsement of an egalitarian community of friends with the strong liturgical witness of intercession. An overview of the early history and development of the feast from the Eucharistic commemoration of the deaths of martyrs and its Eastern association with Pentecost reflects the paschal mystery, the working of the Spirit, and its expression of God’s kingdom now and to come. Its Western placement between the secular celebration of Halloween and the Commemoration of All Souls both poses challenges and offers opportunities for a renewed understanding and appreciation of holiness of the beloved dead and living faithful in Christian life.



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