All Hallows Eve

There is no missing the fact that Halloween is on Monday. As you walk around Canterbury, skulls, cobwebs and skeletons can be seen in the windows of many of shops including opticians, jewellers and stationers. The word “Halloween” comes from the words “All Hallows Eve”. To hallow is to make holy and “All Hallows”  means All Saints.

This is the feast we celebrate on 1st November when we give thanks for all those who have committed themselves to Christ and who in their lives have striven to be like him and are now with Christ already. Our hope is that we may join them in complete union with God.

There are some today who  claim that Halloween is an attempt by early Christians to “baptise” the Gaelic festival of Samhain. From the earliest days of Christianity, the church celebrated the memories of saints and martyrs and it was Gregory III (731-741) who consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November.

The following day, the 2nd November, All Souls Day, we remember and pray for all the faithful departed. “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030). We believe that death does not separate the living from those who have died. “Just as we ask each other for prayers during our lifetime, we continue that practice even beyond death.”

There is a box in the Narthex of the church into which you can put your list of those you wish to remember during the month of November. These sheets will be brought up at every Mass and laid beneath the altar as a sign of our prayers for them during the month at Mass.

Next Sunday afternoon, 6th November at 3pm, there will be the blessing of graves at Canterbury cemetery.

All during this month of November, we remember those who have died and we pray for them.

Lord God,
whose days are without end and whose mercies beyond counting,
keep us mindful that life is short and the hour of death unknown.
Let your Spirit guide our days on earth in the ways of holiness and justice,
that we may serve you in union with the whole Church,
sure in faith, strong in hope, perfect in love.
And when our earthly journey is ended,
lead us rejoicing into your kingdom,
where you live forever and ever. Amen (Liturgy of Christian Funerals)

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest