DEALLY, CELEBRATING ALL SAINTS day would be a case of an awesome Mass in the morning, a festive lunch then cap it off with Solemn Vespers. Funnily enough our local parish wasn’t offering this, but a local homeschool group was reviving an All Saints Day Parade which had been a regular feature of Western Sydney’s Catholic Homeschool year back when my boys were tiny.
The idea is fairly simple. Children choose a saint to dress up as. They prepare a little speech to introduce their saint. We try find impartial judges to award prizes. Then add in our usual end-of-year concert items plus food and games and there you have an afternoon to remember.
That still leaves the question of how to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. There are objections to the custom of Trick or Treating on all sorts of levels – nutritional, psychological and here in Australia there is a feeling that it is a foreign custom, another attempt by crass commercialism to make more money.
But the general idea of meeting your neighbours and having sweet food sounds okay.
Talking about ghosts and death is an awesome part of being Catholic. There is this common misconception that conservative people don’t believe in ghosts – which probably relates back the the Protestant rejection of Purgatory – but we can blow this out of the water with true ghost stories such as those featured in the movie Purgatory: the forgotten Church.
There’s a Museum in Rome preserving evidence of the Poor Souls and if you can’t travel all the way there, you could read Hungry Souls.
People are fascinated by death and the afterlife. Catholics have the answers.
November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. There are indulgences attached to visiting cemeteries. Many parishes will have extra requiem Masses for the Holy Souls. You can use the Office of the Dead for your own private prayers.
You can sing Dies Irae and Requiem Aeternam. And that reminds me of Lux Aeterna, the Communion verse too. Hopefully I’ll get to a sung requiem soon!
After all the joy of All Saints Day I still get more excited about praying for the souls in Purgatory – maybe it’s closer to us here on earth, working out our salvation in fear and trembling.
Happy All Souls Day!