Sydney’s Catholic kids reclaimed All Hallow’s Eve again this year, dressing up as saints in the spirit of the day before the great feast of All Saints.
Reframing the over-commercialised Halloween holiday, more families, parishes and schools invited children to learn about and befriend a heavenly hero.
The results were tributes to holy lives as heartwarming and sincere as they were cute.
At Galilee Catholic Primary School, family educator Lucy Hayward assigned each family and the teachers a saint to research and a short prayer to say.
“The very next day, nearly every child came up to me excitedly to tell me which saint their family had received, and likewise, the parents were just as enthusiastic,” she said.
Students said they now too want to be a saint, and one parent was surprised to find that the saints faced hardships and were not “always perfect.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Lucy.
“The saints are indeed ordinary men and women who lived extraordinary lives, and through pondering their stories, we find comfort in knowing that holy people shared the same struggles, doubts and hardships that we do today and that we, too, are all called to be saints.”
Other parishes taking part included St Francis of Assisi at Paddington, St Michael’s at Belfield and St Peter Chanel at Regents Park.
Catechist Alice Vargas Davalos, organiser of the All Saints Day celebrations at All Saints Catholic Church, Liverpool and St Elias Speleota’s Spanish Catholic Church, Ashcroft, said it has been growing each year since 2018.
“We are all called to be saints,” she said.
“As catechists we focus on teaching the word of God with the children by teaching them parables and scripture through prayer, dynamics and weekly art activities.
“Celebrating the saints is reaffirming the teachings of God to learn of the life of the saints who lived out the word of the God.”
Among the kids dressed as Saints Francis, Charbel, Agnes, Teresa and others was Valentina, who dressed as St Mary MacKillop at All Saints Catholic Primary.
“I like her because she is the first Australian saint, she helped the needy receive education and gave a safe home to the orphans,” she said.
“Her hard work was inspirational.”
Lucas chose St Martin de Porres for his care for those most in need.
“He was always distributing food and alms to the poor and needy in Lima, a city in Peru.”
Zara likes St Clare “because she was devoted to Jesus and gave her live up to the poor and always went to church.
“I want to be like her by being devoted and to give to the poor and the needy.”