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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, November 01, 2010
ALL SAINTS –Year C – 31st October 2010
The local shops are full of pumpkins and there are many adverts for children’s ghoulish masks. It may be that some children have asked if they could go as a group knocking on doors saying ‘trick or treat’, and expecting a small gift. Sadly some have experienced that if no treat was given, then an egg may be thrown at the door.

But do we know the ancient Christian tradition of Halloween? Do we know where the name comes from? And why is it that it is now a completely secularised, even pagan, festivity which is promoted to make money for our industries.

The name Halloween is in fact a corruption of ‘All Hallows Eve’. In the Our Father we say ‘Hallowed be thy name’ – so Hallow means to make holy, to sanctify or to honour as holy. So ‘All Hallows Eve’ is the evening before ‘All Hallows’, which we better know as ‘All Saints’. So the true Christian tradition of Halloween is the vigil to mark the feast of All Saints, which we celebrate on the 1st of November, although this year the feast is being moved to the Sunday (31st Oct).

All Saints is the feast in which we as Catholics celebrate the glory of God in His saints; the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God's holy ones in heaven. Jesus is the “Light of the World”. The saints lived by that light, and became a beacon in their own generation. Everyone is called by Jesus to live out this vocation - to be the “Light of the world” for others today.’

As we highlighted last week, in his pastoral letter after the Pope’s visit, Archbishop Vincent Nichols wrote:- “‘Making faith visible is so much a part of the invitation the Holy Father has extended to us all.’ Therefore we have been invited that instead of marking Halloween in its secular form, we should reclaim its Christian roots and celebrate it as a Night of Light. Possibilities include
• Attending a vigil Mass for the Feast of All Saints
• Spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament
• Providing treats and fun for children in celebration of All Saints and the Light of Christ; e.g. a bonfire or dressing up as saints.
• Placing a light in your window (safely) as a sign to passers-by that yours is a Christian household and Christ is your light.
• Some may like to wear a white item of clothing as a symbol of their allegiance to Christ, Our Light.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:16 pm