All Hallows Eve

10-25-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

As I drive around town these days, I can’t help noticing all the decorations for Halloween. Some of them are quite elaborate, much like we usually see at Christmas time. Seeing all this made me think about just how much Halloween has changed over the years.

As Catholics we should remember that Halloween has its roots in Christian history. As you know, All Saints Day is November 1st. At certain times in history, it was customary for Christians to ‘dress up’ as their patron or favorite saints on the eve of All Saints Day – called All Hallows (saints) Eve. From this came the custom of dressing up for Halloween.

I know this is probably asking a lot – but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could reclaim the Christian nature of Halloween? Over the years I’ve known families whose children do indeed dress like saints for this holiday. It shouldn’t be that hard to do. If it’s too late for this year, start thinking ahead to next.

Maybe some of our families can even organize an All Hallows Eve event for next Halloween. I’ve seen that done and have some ideas I would happily share. It could be a nice event for some of our families – and a better way to celebrate Halloween!

Next Sunday is All Saints Day, a day on which Catholics around the world honor all the saints in Heaven. On that day we remember not only the famous saints who have their own special feast days, but especially the ‘unknown’ saints – the faithful husbands and wives, the zealous parish priests, and all the women and men who did their best to love God and neighbor in obscurity over the years.

Please also remember that Monday, November 2nd, is All Souls Day. All Souls Day is dedicated to praying for all those who have died. Our faith teaches us that our prayers help our loved ones on their way to Heaven. For this reason, our prayers are a great gift to those who have gone before us in faith.

In my own experience, praying for the dead is a great source of comfort. As I pray for my own deceased loved ones, I become very aware of the connection that exists between us, and of the great gift they were to me in life. It also stirs my hope to see and enjoy eternity with them in God’s presence.

On All Souls Day, Masses will be celebrated in our Church at the following times: 6:45 and 8 AM and 12:10 and 7 PM. The 7 PM Mass will include a special remembrance of all those buried from our church this year. While not a Holy Day of Obligation, many Catholics attend Holy Mass on All Souls Day. I hope you will be one of them!

I hope you will also pray a Hail Mary for me today – and every day. Know that I always pray for you. Have a great week!

Fr. John