“No man is an island”–  All Souls’ Day.jpg

“No man is an island”–  All Souls’ Day

By Father Bob Bates [email protected]

Fr Bob Bates joined St Vincent’s Chaplaincy in the Algarve in May 2009, having previously served in the Peterborough Diocese in the UK. Fr Bob and his wife Diane live in the Chaplaincy House in Boliqueime with their dogs. Their son Tom has recently completed a post graduate music degree and lives and works in Cardiff.

What does All Souls’ Day mean to you? Probably not too much unless you are a very regular churchgoer, but perhaps its alternative name, “The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed”, might help. Let me try to explain.

We are about to enter a time of thoughtfulness and Remembrance as we approach the “waiting time” of Advent, when we contemplate the coming of Christ, both at Christmas, and also when he comes again as he has promised to do (and God incarnate, does not fail to keep his promises!).

The opening weekend of this remembering time starts with All Saints Day. As always, this day falls on November 1, which this year is a Monday (as celebrated by our Portuguese friends with a national holiday). We will celebrate in our churches on October 31 and we remember then the unsung heroes of our faith, those who built up the fellowship of faith over the centuries, but either do not have their own special day or, more probably, whose names have been forgotten or lost in history.

This is a day of celebration, of triumphant thanksgiving, of gratitude to God for those who came before us and gave us the church we have today.


On All Souls’ Day (Tuesday November 2) we are in a much more meditative mood. We remember our own loved ones – those we can definitely name, those who mean so much to us, but who we see no longer, those who taught us the faith, who comforted us when we needed help and who we miss.

This implies, initially, that there are different categories of saints – the superstars and the minor ones who mean something to us alone – not so! Those who we specifically remember are in no way inferior to anyone else. They might be our parents, a partner who has died, a teacher or a close friend – the fact that we knew and loved them makes them extra special.

Here at St Vincent’s Chaplaincy we will remember these special folk at a service of Thanksgiving and Remembering, at our Church of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, close to Almancil. Our service will be held at 6pm and will be open to all who might wish to come. The service will be a combination of hymns and prayers and readings, and there will be a time of deliberation as we name those who we remember and light candles to their memory. We will have a time of togetherness afterwards as we enjoy some light refreshments.

As I suggest, all are welcome. It would be helpful if you could give us notice of any names you would like us to read, even if you won’t be with us, and notice of your attendance would help, but just turn up if you wish. You can email me with these names and your possible attendance on [email protected] and can get directions to our church on www.stvincentsalgarve.org and click onto Almancil.

With all good wishes and Blessings for this time of remembering.