Happy Halloween (a couple of days early)! Which is to say, Happy All Saints Day! This week we celebrate an important day on the Church calendar, a day set aside to remember all the holy men and women of the Church who do not have their own dedicated feast or memorial. This practice dates back to the fourth century; the Church had the practice of commemorating martyrs by honoring the on the day of their martyrdom, but eventually the numbers got so high that many had to share a common day.
The date of November 1 comes from the eighth century when Pope Gregory III consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome to all the saints on that date. He then extended the date of the celebration to the universal Church. The choice of the Nov. 1 date, then, had nothing to do with the old Celtic new year celebration of Samhain, which fell on that date. Pagan belief was that during Samhain, the world of the dead was closest to the world of the living. So even though these two different traditions are not related, it is fitting that this day be marked as a special time to remember those who have gone before us in faith. Of course, the saints are not dead but very much alive in Christ, part of the same Body of Christ - the Church - as are we!
The word "Halloween" comes from an archaic name for All Saints Day - All Hallows Day. "Hallowed" means "Holy" the same as "Saint." (We use this word in the Our Father prayer, when we say, "Hallowed by Thy name"). The Vigil of All Saints which takes place the evening before was called All Hallows Eve; this was shortened to Hallowe'en.
Come join us for Supper @ the Center at 6:30pm! Jessica and Kat are teaming up to cook for us - with Jessica's trademark pumpkin crisp for dessert. After, the two of them will be leading our program, which will have a special Halloween theme this week. Halloween is supposed to be about honoring the saints, but our secular culture has made it all about ghosts and ghouls, demons and witches and the like. So what does the Catholic Church teach about these things? Are they real? Should we be afraid of them? What should the Catholic attitude be? Come learn with us - and wear a costume if you can!
Thursday is Halloween, the vigil of All Saints Day. All Saints is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that Catholics are obligated to attend Mass, just as on a Sunday. We will be offering a Vigil Mass on Thursday at 5:00pm in our chapel, followed by Adoration & Benediction. NOTE: Last week we advertised this as being at 4:30. We have moved back the time to allow those who get out of class at 4:45 to be able to attend.
Friday is All Saints Day. There will be Masses at St. Mary's at 9:00am and 6:00pm in English, and 8:00pm in Spanish.
Saturday is All Soul's Day. Whereas All Saints is a day set aside to honor those blessed souls in heaven, All Souls is a day set aside to pray for those departed in purgatory who are still being purified so that one day they may also joined the blessed in eternal rest and happiness with God. We will offer an All Soul's Day Mass in our chapel at 12:30pm for any who wish to attend.
Sunday Mass at 7:30pm with Rosary and Confession offered half an hour before Mass. Please stay after for Credo. This week we'll be talking about the Bible! What do Catholics believe about the Bible, and how did it come to us in the form we know it today? Come with your questions, and we'll see you there!
In His Peace!