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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 January 22, 2021

The doctor should not meddle. The right of the child is equa...

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January 22

 

The doctor should not meddle.
The right of the child is equal to the right of the mother’s life.
The doctor can’t decide;
it is a sin to kill in the womb.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Vincent Pallotti

He once dressed as an old woman to reach a dying person whos...

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St. Vincent Pallotti

Vincent Pallotti was born in Rome in 1795, the son of a well-to-do grocer. In school he was known as a “little saint” and, although bright, he was also considered “a bit slow” – an illusion amply disproved by the apostolic endeavors of his life.

He was ordained a priest when only twenty-three, and taking his doctorate in theology soon after, became an assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome.

As a close friend of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, a missionary in Italy, he decided to give up his teaching post for a more apostolic life. Inflamed by the missionary spirit, he longed to send missionaries throughout the world and to work for the conversion of the Mohammedans.

Don Pallotti, as he was known, was a great confessor and fulfilled that office at several colleges. He had an intense devotion to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and a tender love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 1835 he began the Society of Catholic Apostolate. He organized schools for shoemakers, tailors, coachmen, joiners and market-gardeners to improve their education and general pride in their trade. He started evening classes for young workers and an institute to teach better methods of agriculture.

Widely regarded as another St. Philip Neri, he was indefatigable in his work with those in need. Burning with zeal to save sinners, he once dressed as an old woman to reach a dying person whose relative had sworn to shoot the first priest to approach. He was also a great exorcist, and healed the sick with a word of encouragement or a blessing.  He foresaw the future, and once predicted the movement of Catholic Action, even its name.
Vincent Pallotti died on January 22, 1850 at the age of fifty-five. When his body was exhumed in 1906 and again in 1950, it was found to be completely incorrupt. It is enshrined in the Church of St. Salvatore in Onda in Rome.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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