Priest urges Catholics to mark Halloween the correct, holy way

A GROUP of children wearing garbs of saints marched from the Bacolod public plaza to the Pope John Paul II tower at the Reclamation Area Sunday afternoon.

Fr. Felix Pasquin, rector of San Sebastian Cathedral, said the parish, with the Diocese of Bacolod, organized the annual event “Parade of Saints” to show the correct way of celebrating the Halloween, which means holiness exemplified by the saints.

The event, now on its third year, aims to provide an environment for the children to grow up and appreciate holiness, Pasquin said.

“We want to do away with the long standing celebration of Halloween with scary faces, which do not in any way represent holiness, but only the devil's face," he added.

The celebration seeks to restore among the young children the true meaning of All Saints’ Day, which is a celebration of the saints rather than of glorifying demons, witches, and monsters which has become more popular in the past years, the Diocese also said.

Last week, it issued guidelines on how the Catholic faithful should celebrate the All Saints’ Day.

The Diocese led by Bishop Patricio Buzon wrote a letter, which was prepared by the parish priests, to private schools in the city and offered some points for reflection and guidelines for the “proper celebration of this important solemnity.”

First, it is important that we learn what the celebration is all about in connection with the church, they said.

“We call the church as ‘Mater et Magistra,’ it is because through her we are born to holiness and eternal life. Through baptism, God became our Father and we as His children,” they added.

In the church, which is the earthly community of God’s children, there are among us who throughout the centuries became heroic in their virtues and holiness, they added.

“They are the saints, our brothers and sisters in the faith who serve as our inspirations and models on how to live as true children of God,” the prelates further said.

They noted that there is an increasing popularity of celebrating the All Saints’ Day as “Halloween,” in which the participants are wearing costumes depicting witches, monsters, and even demons.

“We are saddened that there are even Catholic schools who are actively promoting among their students this kind of celebration through costumes parties, horror rooms, sponsoring of horror movies, use of Ouija boards, and other forms of divinations which we deemed as pernicious to the psychological and spiritual well-being of our young people,” they stressed.

The priests also said the school nurtures the young by instructing them and guiding them to become good citizens.

“As a ‘mother,’ our Catholic schools should take care that they become responsible and trustworthy in the exercise of their tasks of educating the young along the path of virtues and love,” they added.

Last week, a tarpaulin, with a message “Yes to the real Halloween. No to the devil’s,” was mounted at the entrance of San Sebastian Cathedral.

It included pictures of Catholic saints, including Pope John Paul II, Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, Pedro Calungsod, San Lorenzo Ruiz, San Sebastian, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Saint Michael the Archangel defeating Satan, and the devil. (with reports from MPE)

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