……from your Pastor’s Desk
Halloween – Secular or Sacred?
October 31st is Halloween. Many people, especially Christians, dismiss Halloween for what it has become. Fact is though; we are the ones who invented it, or rather, in ancient days ‘converted it’ as we did many other pagan festivals.
Halloween is an ancient festival with roots in Celtic pre-Christian times.
It was adapted – as with most major and many minor Christian feasts like Christmas, Easter and May crowning’s. It was long ago taken over by believing Christians and given new meaning and significance being linked with All Saints Day (Monday-November 1st) and All Souls Day (Tuesday -November 2nd),
Halloween is old English for “holy eve” or “eve of the holy days”.
It begins a threefold celebration for Catholic Christians to:
- Halloween -to first poke fun at the dark and its demons,
- All Saints -then to celebrate our heroes and heroines of faith on their victory in Christ, and
- All Souls – finally to remember our lost loved ones and recognize human frailty and our need for Christ.
The traditional Christian approach at Halloween was to dress as demons and devils, witches and goblins, skeletons and grim reaper so that we can laugh at the powers of darkness because we know that Jesus is victorious. Afterwards, we throw off the costumes and masks because like the saints we are called to be new persons in Christ.
However – that aspect has been completely lost in our times.
You won’t find a single Pope Francis or Mother Theresa, or John the Baptist costume at Kohl’s, JC Penny’s, Macy’s or any store in Montgomery or Coddington Plazas!! Today’s advertising and merchandizing focuses on super-heroes, celebrities, singers, actors, athletes, and movie characters- and yes, of course – zombies, witch’s, ghosts and vampires too!
In many parishes there is a focus on All Saints parties on Halloween instead – I guess to counteract the misguided emphasis on Halloween.
Oh well…times change, people change…
So…. As we look to these ‘three-days’ let us not be afraid of demons and the powers of darkness – let us remember the saints gone before us who stood against them – and let us pray for those awaiting that final glory…