Ira Thomas
Ira Thomas

This feast, first honored martyrs. Later, when Christians were free to worship according to their conscience, the Church acknowledged other paths to sanctity. In the early centuries the only criterion was popular acclaim, even when the bishop’s approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar.
 
The first papal canonization occurred in 993; the lengthy process now required to prove extraordinary sanctity took form in the last 500 years. Today’s feast honors the obscure as well as the famous—the saints each of us have known.
 
In anticipation of All Saints Day on this Friday, here are four versions of the Litany of the Saints. The first is the popular John Becker version; the second is composed by Matt Maher; the third is the traditional chant litany sung in Latin and the last is prayerfully tongue-in-cheek, from Gilbert and Sullivan via SaintCast.
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

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