The Pastor's Corner 102812

posted Oct 24, 2012, 11:14 AM by Music Director

    One of the highlights of this time of year, at least for children (and those of us who are still children at heart!) is the celebration of Halloween.  After Christmas, it is my favorite holiday.  And let’s be honest:  who among us doesn’t like candy?

               For all its frivolity and fun, Halloween actually has very serious roots.  It’s earliest traces are found in the ancient Druid celebration of “the Day of the Dead,” when spirits of the deceased were believed to return to the land of the living to collect on old debts or otherwise haunt those who did them wrong in this life.  Other spirits were believed to have returned to bless loved ones and others who had been good to them during their lives on earth.  (Similar observances are common to many other cultures around the world.) 

The holiday took on Christian overtones as the people of Britain and Ireland were evangelized beginning in the 5th century.  The feast of “All Hallows” (All Saints), celebrated around the same time as the Day of the Dead, was used as a bridge by Christian missionaries who taught that these evil spirits were actually demons released from hell to wreak havoc on the earth in anticipation of All Hallows Day, when the saints would descend from heaven to cast the demons back into hell.  It is from this that the “mischief” aspect of the holiday originated.

To confuse the evil spirits, villagers began dressing their children in costumes depicting various saints on the evening before All Hallows (“All Hallows Eve” or “Halloween”), causing them to flee in terror back to hell a day early.  For “tricking” the evil spirits, costumed children were offered a “treat” from grateful villagers. Time and changing cultures would add their own customs until it became the holiday we recognize today.

Even the “Jack O’Lantern” is rooted in Christian story-telling, going back to an old Irish legend about a man called “Stingy Jack.”  According to the story, Jack was a very unsavory fellow who tricked the devil on several occasions.  At his death, he was condemned to roam the earth at night with only a burning piece of charcoal to light his way, which he put into a carved-out turnip.  This ghostly figure was hence known as “Jack of the Lantern,” or “Jack O’Lantern.”  People began to carve scary faces into turnips, large beets or potatoes which were placed in windows or near front doors to frighten away “Stingy Jack” and other wandering evil spirits.  The custom spread to Scotland and England, and then made its way to America, where the plentiful native gourd, pumpkin, was substituted for the turnip/beet/potato.

And there it is! While some Christian evangelical groups disdain Halloween because of its pagan roots, you can see that even our ancient ancestors wanted to inject a little fun into what otherwise was very serious business.

               I hope you all will enjoy the holiday! But let’s not forget the Holy Day that follows, a day to honor and prayerfully reflect on the lives of the saints who inspire us to follow Jesus and share their glory with Him forever.  And let us also remember our own “Day of the Dead,” All Souls Day, and our special 7:30 PM Mass in which we remember our fellow parishioners who have died this past year along with all of our beloved deceased.  Please be sure to return your All Souls envelopewith the names of your beloved deceased recorded on the back, so we may remember them not just on All Souls day, but throughout November, the month of All Souls.  Happy Halloween, everyone!



(Trick the Falcons & treat your fans!)

In His Love,

Fr. Mike