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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 April 22, 2021

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God rather for s...

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April 22

 

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God
rather for sinners than for the just, since
Jesus Christ declares that
He came to call not the just, but sinners.

St. Anselm

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Theodore of Sykeon

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second...

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St. Theodore of Sykeon

Born in the Roman Galatian town of Sykeon in Asia Minor, Theodore was the son of a woman of ill repute, who kept an inn along the imperial highway.

As a child, he was so given to prayer that he would often give up a meal to spend time in church. From an early age he shut himself up first in the cellar of his mother’s house and then in a cave beneath a disused chapel. Later, for a time, seeking to further escape the world, he sought solitude on a mountain.

On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem Theodore assumed a monk’s habit, and though only eighteen years of age, was ordained a priest by his own bishop. His life was most austere, wearing an iron girdle about his body and only sparingly partaking of vegetables.

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he obtained abundant rain after a severe drought.

Theodore founded several monasteries, and ruled as abbot in Sykeon. He was consecrated Bishop of Anastasiopolis, though he deemed himself totally unfitted. After ten years he succeeded in relinquishing his post and retired to Sykeon.

From Sykeon he was recalled to Constantinople to bless the emperor and the senate and there healed one of the Emperor’s sons of a skin disease, reputedly leprosy.

Theodore had a great devotion to St. George and did much to propagate devotion to him.

He died in Sykeon on April 22, 613.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

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

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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