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Halos VS Halloween

 

Halloween, celebrated in various Western countries, and with particular emphasis in America, originated with the Christian feast of All Saints, or All Halos. The old English expression, All Hallows’ Eve, eventually evolved into Halloween.

The feast of All Saints is an ancient feast in the Catholic Church dating back to the time of the first martyrs of the Roman Empire. The first Christians greatly venerated those who, refusing to offer incense to the pagan deities of the time, heroically upheld their belief in Christ to the point of shedding their blood.

As martyrdoms increased, local dioceses established a common feast day ensuring that all martyrs were properly honored. Pope Gregory III who reigned from 731 to 741 instituted the present feast of All Saints on November I, and consecrated a chapel in honor of all martyrs in St. Peter’s Basilica.

At first the feast of All Saints was celebrated locally but Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration to the whole church. The feast also honors all those canonized saints who did not shed blood for their Faith, and all holy souls who died in the Lord–in short, all saints known and unknown.

Hallow’s Eve or the vigil of the feast of All Saints is as ancient as the feast of All Saints, and contrary to what some believe, did not have pagan origins.

 

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Hallow’s Eve high-jacked

Nevertheless, the feast has, undoubtedly, been paganized and demonized. Halloween, as we know it today, increasingly promotes “horns” over “halos".

Not only have harvest pumpkins and Casper ghosts evolved into ghastly ghouls, but the demonic is no longer even masked. Driving down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans a few days ago, I was taken aback by the horrific displays on the front lawns of the beautiful mansions. One house had a ten foot luciferian demon complete with glaring eyes, menacing claws, fangs and horns blocking the path up to the front door. Flanking this central demon were two others just as huge and hideous.

I’m always reminded of a program on TV years ago in which a practicing witch was interviewed. She said that if people only knew what sort of spirits they attract with such displays, they would not put them up.

 

Reclaiming the “Halos”

On the other hand, a new practice is slowly rising, true to the original celebration of All Hollows’ Eve.

Church groups and groups of parents promote “saints parties” in which the children dress as saints and put on skits and games such as “guess which saint I am”. The children either read or relate a short bio of the saint they represent, and a prize goes to the one who first guesses the saint’s name.

The town of Loretto, PA puts on a yearly Candlelight Saints Tour that is a must see. This year, for two days on October 25 and 26, starting at 6PM, visitors were treated to several skits representing the lives of the saints at several stations throughout the grounds of the historic Basilica of St. Michael. Marie Kopp, a resident of the area who represented St. Maryanne Cope a newly canonized Australian saint, said the tours last about an hour and a half each and go until 11:30pm. Among the saints represented this year were St. Isaac Jogues, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Catherine Drexel, and St. Elizabeth Seton.

“I grew up going to saints parties,” said Marie, “we played games, rode hay-rides, collected candy and had as much fun as in any other Halloween party.”

A growing movement, saints’ parties, parades and candlelight tours aim to celebrate light over darkness and to reclaim the halo in Halloween.

 


References: Catholic Encyclopedia Online, Catholic Online, Marie Kopp, Loretto, PA

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for February 23, 2020

Prayer is the conversation of a child with its Father; of a...

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February 23

 

Prayer is the conversation
of a child with its Father; of a subject with his King;
of a servant with his Lord; of a friend with the Friend
to whom he confides
all his troubles and difficulties.

St. John Vianney

  
My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Polycarp

A spear was thrust into his side, killing him. A dove flew o...

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St. Polycarp

Polycarp, a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, was part of the group of early bishops. When heresy arose in Asia, violence toward Catholics arose with it, and Polycarp was persuaded by his friends to go into hiding.

Eventually Polycarp was found and arrested. When his persecutors arrived at his hideout, he went to them and served them a meal, asking for a short time to pray before being taken away. Polycarp was sent to trial, where his captors tempted him with freedom and tried to convince him to denounced Our Lord. “Fourscore and six years I have served Him and He hath done me no wrong,” he said, “how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

Soon after this, in the year 155, Polycarp was burnt at the stake – though there was no odor of burning flesh: instead a smell of incense was in the air. When the fire seemed to do him no harm, a spear was thrust into his side, killing him. A dove flew out of the wound, and Polycarp’s blood quenched the fire, causing part of his body to remain intact. However, his remains were later burned to ash because the heretics feared other Catholics would revere the body as a relic.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Catholics proclaim their Faith in the public square as they...

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Why Ash Wednesday? Why Ashes?

Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent symbolic of the forty days Our Lord fasted in the desert. Occurring forty six days before Easter, it is consequently moveable-as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.

The ashes applied to the forehead, made from the palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday, are blessed, perfumed with incense, and hydrated with a little holy water or oil as a binding agent. Thus treated, the ashes are considered a Sacramental.

The Catholic Church is replete with sacramentals, holy objects, words and rituals that we can see, touch and hear to help convey to our spirit an attitude of openess to Grace.

The ash used on Ash Wednesday, accompanied by the words "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return," or, "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" places us in a disposition of penance and humility, which is the attitude needed for a fruitful, Grace-filled Lent.

Sacramentals are specially potent when well explained to children who are so visual and touch oriented. They are a powerful means to convey the unseen mysteries of our Faith to their young minds. 

 

WOC Devotional Set Flag

Catholics proclaim their Faith in the public square as they go about marked with a black cross.

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