Though many are unaware of its existence, the Vatican has a “scavi” tour which takes you through the excavations beneath the basement of St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s fascinating to hear about and see how in the 1940’s, they discovered an ancient pagan “necropolis” or cemetery that was covered over in order to built the basilica precisely on top of it. Directly beneath the altar are the remains of St. Peter himself who was martyred nearby & was buried in this 1st century cemetery.
On the tombs nearby where Peter was buried were “graffiti” or words & symbols etched into the marble & stone. There were Christian symbols there as well as prayers asking Peter & other saints to pray for loved ones buried nearby.
I find this archeology so wonderful because it gives evidence of how, the first years of the Church, the disciples honored the saints, revered their bodies & asked for their intercession. 2000 years later, we do the same on this feast of All Saints. Because they were human and frail as we are, they give us encouragement as the grace of God entered their lives. They pray for us as we pray for one another. They remind us of our ultimate goal: an eternal, joyful life with God & all the saints in the kingdom.