What is Halloween?
Halloween is simply a corruption of the words All Hallows’ Eve, the day before All Saints Day. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III instituted All Saints Day on November 1st, automatically making October 31st the Eve before All Saints.
November 2nd is he “Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” which is founded upon the Catholic Church’s doctrine that those faithful who have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to sin and from their attachment to sin cannot enjoy the Beatific Vision in heaven immediately upon their death. They must first go through Purgatory.
How can I help those in Purgatory?
You can help those in Purgatory by offering up sacrifices and prayers for the early release. There are also two indulgences during the month of November that you can take advantage of.
What is an indulgence?
An indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.
From 12 noon on 1 November until midnight on 2 November, all who have confessed, received Holy Communion and prayed for the Pope’s intentions can gain a plenary indulgence a soul in Purgatory by visiting a church or oratory and there, recite one Our Father and the Apostles Creed.
Confession may be made at any time within the week preceding or the week following 1 November. Holy Communion may be received on any day from 1 November to 8 November.
Anyone who visits a cemetery and prays for the dead may gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the Holy Souls on the usual condition once per day from 1 to 8 November.
(Liturgical Calendar for Ireland 2022)
“Usual conditions” means confession, Holy Communion and praying for the Pope’s intentions as mentioned above.
The Pope’s Intentions
The Pope’s intentions are the formal intentions of the See of Peter. These intentions are:
1) The progress of the Faith and triumph of the Church.
2) Peace and union among Christian Princes and Rulers.
3) The conversion of sinners.
4) The uprooting of heresy.
Although the souls in Purgatory are saved, they still need to make reparation for sins they have committed. They are deprived of seeing God until they have paid the full price of their sins.
Should I celebrate Halloween?
Yes! But not how the world wants you to. Here are six ways you can celebrate Halloween.
First, go to Mass. It is on the eve of a holy day of obligation and Mass can prepare us to celebrate the feasts that follow as originally intended. Remember Halloween was originally a cycle of holy days that went from the eve of All Saints Day to All Souls Day.
Second is to pray to all the saints and martyrs. Saints and martyrs are the natural role models of the Church. Our struggle to attain the salvation of our souls is helped by admiring the saints who came before us. Imitating a great athlete from the past is an excellent way to be come an athlete. To obtain holiness, we need to imitate the blessed that came before us.
Third is to encourage devotion to patron saints in children. The act of admiring saints has to be restored and become part of our culture. It needs to start with children since they have a natural inclination to admire people that surround them. It is especially during this period that they need to acquire the habit of looking up to saints for inspiration. If they need to dress up in a costume, encourage them to dress up as a Catholic saint or hero.
Fourth is to pray for deceased family members. In conjunction with paying respect to all the saints, the feast day following All Saints Day is All Souls Day. It is understood that the faithful who have attained salvation but have not attained eternal reward are suffering in the fires of purgatory. We may have family members who are still suffering in Purgatory. We should pray for them throughout the year. It is at this day that the Church reminds and encourages us to have them present in our thoughts and concerns.
Fifth is to pray for all the souls in Purgatory. There are suffering souls in purgatory who have no one to pray for them. Their family line may have ended or family members may have forgotten about them. Their descendants may no longer practice the faith. Whatever the case may be, there are always suffering souls in need of prayers.
Three good practices include sprinkling holy water on the grave for the benefit of suffering souls, make a sign of cross and a short prayer whenever passing by a cemetery, and pray the following prayer daily: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
Sixth is to decorate homes with items associated with the saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ or God in general. Avoid or throw away horrendous Halloween decorations that are associated with the devil or evil things, since they are toxic for the soul.
Halloween was intended to be celebrated as a Catholic feast day. It can once again be restored to its roots but, as with all movements of conversion, it needs two necessary initial steps. We need to burn what we have adored and adore what we have burned.