Thursday, 20 October 2011

May the Saints preserve us!

Yes, it's that time of year again when Catholic bloggers look in their diaries to see if there is anything of calendar importance to blog about and - bingo! Out leaps the 31st October at them.

Halloween is with us yet again and likely to be even more satanic in its excesses and its spread.
Back in 1990 I happened to be on a study programme in Concord, Massachusets at this time of year and was both shocked and fascinated by the range of devilish costumes, masks, sweets etc that was available in the shops (stores).
This did not, as far as I was aware, exist in Great Britain, we only had the jolly old pumpkin faces and a lit candle.

But rapidly, over the intervening years, as is so often the case, we have caught up with America's lead in excesses of the satanic kind.

"Aaah", I hear "But it's only a bit of fun". Well if you believe that dressing a 3 year old up as a corpse or putting a zombie outfit on little Johnny is fun, please don't invite me round to Sunday lunch.

The means and manner in which the world laps up this grotesque perversion of a perfectly good Catholic feast is manifested by Marks and Spencers shop assistants dressed as witches with theatrical blood seeping from their nostrils. Jolly good fun! What next? Police officers parading as Chuckie? Traffic Wardens as Dracula? Well they are half way there aren't they? The traffic wardens I mean.

Satan and his demons must be laughing their socks off. There they were, labouring away for centuries with temptation and sins of the flesh and all the time the answer was staring them in the face.
"Make them think that it's all a joke and, bit by bit, soul by soul we will harness them" It's positively Tolkienesque.

So, Catholic parents, now is the time to regain the lost ground and reject the way of the world. Recreate the proper feast of All Hallows Eve, the eve of All Saints Day. Throw parties, dress up your children in the garb of the saints, yes, even light a bonfire - flame is cleansing and flame is light.

Not eternal fire, just a bonfire for the feast!
Remembering the Holy Souls in Purgatory is also part of All Hallows Eve festivities and, if you wish, you may flavour the evening with these suggestions, courtesy of Fisheaters:

From the English Catholics we get begging from door to door, the earlier and more pure form of "trick-or-treating." Children would go about begging their neighbors for a "Soul Cake," for which they would say a prayer for those neighbors' dead. Instead of knocking on a door and saying the threatening, "Trick-or-treat" (or the ugly "Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat"), children would say either:
A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake,
have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake!
Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.
While Soul Cakes were originally a type of shortbread, it is said that a clever medieval cook wanted to make Soul Cakes designed to remind people of eternity, so she cut a hole in the middle of round cakes before frying them, thereby inventing doughnuts! Fresh plain cake doughnuts would be a nice food to eat on this day.

And,  instead of occult imagery employ the holy imagery of Mother Church.
Dress the children as their patron saints, enjoy good wholesome food, that is potato crisps shaped like potato crisps rather than pentagram shaped, light candles but around a blessed statue of the faith. And please tell this to your Catholic Primary School Headteacher and your Parish Priest.

In brief, have a good time rather than a bad time!


  1. I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings. Lloyd

  2. "Remembering the Holy Souls in Purgatory is also part of All Hallows Eve festivities"

    Excellent point and excellent post. Totally of one mind with you on this one Richard.

    Lloyd: Which posts of Richards particularly stand out for you?

  3. Thanks Lloyd and Momangelica.


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  5. Dear Richard, every year we have an All Saints' party; pumpkins are featured mainly in the soup, we dress up as saints, have a hunt the saint pictures, bob apple, halo hoopla with forfeits! We pray the Rosary, have food and fireworks and give miraculous medals to any trick or treaters.

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  7. Let's scrap firework night. It is anti-Catholic after all. Then do all of the above that Richard and fish eaters have suggested on all hallows eve. Why not put the fireworks on this night with great food and make a big event of it. Add a bit of ancient christian folk or medieval music (my preference admittedly) to set the scene. I am sure that a bit of theatricality about the evening will bring it to life. Let's make the most of it.

    Why is it a great idea? Because we can invite our secular friends for a bit of 'under the radar' evangelisation. They will think they are going out for a harmless night little knowing that they are going to be hit with the full weight of the Catholic Church. We don't even have to use word to evangelise because the evening speaks for itself (hence not being accused of bible bashing).

    If you wanted to go the whole hog you could also visit family graves the following evening on all souls day. Go and place flowers, light candles on graves, and say prayers just like the 'olden days'.

    I am always complaining to Anna that we do not have enough festivals in the church in this country. By doing this we have add an excellent catholic festival. Just imagine, an actual Catholic festival in England. It is about blummin' time.

    We could go even further and get the bishops to re-instate the all saints holy day of obligation on the following day. Extending the festival even further. Oh, wait a minute. I think I might have gone too far on that one.

    However, I do think the first two suggestions are great.

  8. Sorry Richard, I deleted the earlier comments. I was in a rush earlier and wanted to answer a good post properly. Hence the new post above.

  9. The Catholic grade school that my children attended held an annual All Saints program where the first-graders dressed up as their favorite saints and each one gave a brief synopsis of the life of their chosen patron. Parents were discouraged from spending much money on the costumes and some of us handed ours down to other familes, like the St. Nicholas costume my mother made for Matthew. It was a delightful way to keep to the true intention of the feast.

  10. Thank you all and special thanks to Charlie J.
    All good examples and suggestions.
    It was not so long ago that Guy Fawkes was not burnt on the fire but an effigy of the Pope was (still is carried out in Lewes).