Families take on the culture to restore a supernatural appreciation of feasts
Sydney Catholics are reclaiming All Hallows’ Eve and there’s no trick and it’s all treat!
Instead of dressing up as ghouls or goblins, growing numbers of families are celebrating Halloween in a way both faithful and festive by dressing up as saints and holy people.
All Hallows’ Eve is part of a three-day celebration, along with All Saints and All Souls Day which is a time the Church prays for loved ones in purgatory and rejoices with those already in heaven.
By dressing up as holy people, it’s a great way of not only learning about saints but to also imagine ourselves following their example of Christian discipleship.
Sydney Bishop Richard Umbers believes we are all called to sainthood; so why not dress for it.
“On the vigil of the feast of All Saints’ Day, dressing up as beloved saints is a joyful expression of popular piety, reclaiming the Christian roots of Hallowe’en and cultivating the Church’s tradition of observing liturgical feasts,” he said.
“We don’t all need theology degrees to celebrate the Church Triumphant, sometimes a costume will suffice.”
One parish reclaiming October 31 is St Michael’s Parish community at Belfield who is inviting everybody to come dressed as saints for children’s Rosary, Benediction and a sausage sizzle.
Parish priest Fr Andrew Benton said dressing up as saints and holy people was a fun way of reclaiming the Christian identity of the feast day.
“We are trying to link it to the feast day which is the reason why we celebrate Halloween but know it as All Saints Day,” he said.
“As Parish Priest it’s very important for me that the children learn what Halloween is actually about and appreciate the saints in heaven, and for them to aspire to be like them.
“We want to reclaim the Christian behind the feast day and not the Hollywood sense of what the feast day is about.
“I would encourage all parishes to do the same, I think it’s a great opportunity for our children to think more deeply about some of the Catholic things we have that have been caught up in our culture and de-christianised.
Religious Education Coordinator at St Michael’s Primary Micheline Elias said the school was calling on all Sydneysiders to celebrate the feast “beautifully and consistently with the authenticity of our Catholic faith instead of celebrating with grotesque and occult imagery or activity”.
“It is unfortunate that our culture is more likely to celebrate the villainous eve of All Saints rather than the holy day itself, even though the origin of Halloween is entirely dependent upon All Saints Day,” she said.
“It could become an opportunity for evangelisation and celebrating Catholic devotions, as well as a time to teach our children and communities about our faith and promote growth and virtue and holiness.”