All souls day commemorates all the Faithful Departed. Solemn commemorations of the dead have been made from the seventh century on, but at different times. Adilo of Cluny (a town in southern France in which a Benedictine abbey was established in 910) is generally credited with the fixing of November 2 as the day for the commemoration in the West. He ordered ca.1030 that the commemoration be celebrated on that day at Cluny and at all its dependent houses. From Cluny the practice spread to many dioceses and was adopted in Rome in the 14th century.
Three Masses are celebrated; one must be for the intention of all the Poor Souls, and another for the Pope’s intention. This permission was granted by Benedict XV during World War I because of the great slaughter of that war, and because, since the time of the Reformation and the confiscation of church property, obligations for anniversary Masses which had come as gifts and legacies were almost impossible to continue in the intended manner.
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