Happy All Hallows Day! This past Sunday, Fr. Michael Woods reminded his parishioners of the connection between Halloween and All Hallows, a/k/a All Saints’ Day, the feast day that gave All Saints Church its name. Yesterday, I read a great article about the Catholic origins of Halloween. I learned that “everything associated with these Catholic festivities was caricatured as pagan and the association stuck.”
Dressing up as ghouls on Halloween is a way of showing death that we don’t fear it because we believe in life after death in heaven. All Saints’ Day honors those people who are in heaven, including those who have been officially canonized by the Catholic Church. The latest “Faith Seeking Understanding” podcast is on the topic of saints and relics. Fr. Christian Mathis and I recorded it last week with Dr. Bill Bass. A first-degree relic is a piece of a saint’s remains. In the 15-minute program, I mentioned the time I took my grandmother to see a box containing the hand of St. Damien de Veuster. The woman who continued his ministry to those with leprosy, St. Marianne Cope, was just canonized on October 21.
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are known as Día de los Muertos in Mexican culture. The Day of the Dead celebrations in Southern California have gotten bigger and better in the time since I moved away. Last weekend, my friend Lisa Burks posted on Facebook that she was attending the L.A. Day of the Dead celebration at Hollywood Forever cemetery. I found an informative video by blogger Jeni Landa which shows the celebration of life among the dead: