Fr. Phillippe Angelo Garcia
I’d like to begin this column by sharing the most common but INCORRECT practices Catholics do on Halloween:
1. Dressing up as a devil or “scary” being. Like dressing up as a dead person, ghost, zombie or the like; or dressing up as a character from a show or film, whether as villain or hero
2. Decorating homes with “scary” webs of spiders, skeletons, or "scary" pumpkins.
3. Remembering "scary" stories and calling Halloween a "scary" night as you watch horror films.
These are the WRONG ways of celebrating Halloween as a Catholic.
A HOLY DAY
Halloween is a holy day.
The word "halloween" is a short form of 'All Hallows Eve' which simply means the eve of all the saints.
Remember, we use the word 'hallow' in the old form of the The Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
HALLOWED be thy name.
The word 'hallow' is defined as a verb: to make holy. But surely the list above of festive Halloween practices does not make Halloween holy.
3 WAYS TO CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN AS A CATHOLIC
Allow me to share 3 ways to celebrate Halloween as a good Catholic:
1. Attend Holy Mass together as a family and pray together as a family.
The best way to make Halloween holy is to attend the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist because this sacrament is the highest form of prayer.
If the pandemic hinders the family from attending, I highly recommend that the family pray the Holy Rosary together because the Holy Rosary makes us meditate on the life of Jesus and it makes us closer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the queen of all the saints.
Let us hold on to the words of St. Louis de Montfort that as we hold our rosaries to pray, we are also holding the hands of Mama Mary. The hands of Mama Mary will always lead us to Jesus.
2. Do good deeds.
After attending Holy Mass or praying together as a family, it is important that we translate into actions what we made present in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and in the Holy Rosary for to be holy does not just mean to simply kneel down and pray.
For us to be Holy, we must also act. Remember that faith, our way to holiness, without action, is dead (James 2:17).
St. Paul in his letter to the Romans urges us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord, holy and acceptable to God, our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1). This means that offering ourselves, our way of acting, of doing good to our neighbor, is also our spiritual worship. It makes us Holy.
As we make present in the Holy Mass the offering of Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should also be able to imitate His offering by doing concrete good deeds to our neighbor.
A good family may choose among the seven corporal works of mercy to begin doing good deeds to their neighbor. A good family may also approach their parish priest and present themselves as willing to do good deeds where there is a need.
It would also surely be a good example if parents are seen by their children initiating acts of charity. And after doing acts of charity, it is good for the father or a leader of the family, to gather everyone to share their thoughts on what struck them most in their act of charity.
Remember, it is not only prayer that binds the family. And may I add, the family that serves God together, stays forever!
Lexie, Fr. Phillippe's niece, dressed up by her parents Patricia and Jayson as St. Mother Teresa and St. Helena for the past Halloweens.
3. Dress up as saints, the heroes of our faith.
Dear parents, instead of dressing up your children as a scary or untidy character, dress them up as saints. This way, you are teaching them what is right.
I’d like to say this clearly for parents who dress up their children as demons or scary entities: please raise your standards and do what is right for your children. There is no such thing as a cute demon. When your children got baptized, you made a promise for them to renounce Satan, to give your total NO to Satan. Then how come you dress up your children as the devil or a scary being for Halloween?
The chosen saint to be imitated by dress should be chosen by the child as guided by the parents. Any saint of the Roman Catholic Church may be imitated. Therefore, it can be the saint who has the same name as the child or the parents. It can be the favorite saint of the family. Or it can be a saint whose life is highly relatable to the family.
Whoever saint is chosen, the parent should not end by simply dressing up the child. The parent should tell a short life story of the saint to the child for the child to be familiar with the saint.
I remember my Mother who told us the story of St. Maria Gorretti when we were still little. I remember the story by heart because of the storytelling of my mother.
March of the Saints 2017, Vicariate of Sts. Peter and Paul | Photos by Clyde Ericson
A SAINTLY EVENT
Halloween is meant to be a saintly event. It should never be a scary one.
We are children of the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is our brother. It is my prayer that Halloween be a great reminder to us of our first calling in life, which is to be holy.
To be holy is to love truly, like Jesus.
May we find holiness in life as we love each other with the love of Christ.
A blessed Halloween!