31st October: Halloween


This word really means the Eve of All Hallows.In other words, it is the day before the Feast of All Saints.†† The night before was supposed to be when we got rid of evil spirits before celebrating the feast the next day.


Up to the last quarter of the twentieth century, celebrations were low key and usually consisted of snap apple when you tied apples to a string across the room and tried to take a bite with your hands behind your back.Sometimes, people played apple bobbing when you tried to take a bite out of the apples floating in a big bowl of water.


The present Trick or Treat scenario reached our shores from across the Atlantic in fairly recent years.The emphasis on witches and ghouls worries some people because the whole event has moved away from the preparation for the celebration of the Feast of All Saints butit is fair to say that most people donít take it too seriously and are not involved in the occult.Some parishes have Festivals of Light on this day.


1st November: The Feast of All Saints††

(Holy Day of Obligation)



This feast includes everyone who had gone to heaven, not just the canonised saints.The Church has always taught about the importance of the Communion of Saints.This includes

  • The saints in heaven.†† (The Church Triumphant)
  • Christians on earth who strive to be holy in our daily life. (The Church Militant)
  • The Holy Souls in Purgatory i.e. those who have not yet reached heaven.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (The Church Suffering)


2nd November: The Feast of All Souls

This is the day when we remember all those who have died, especially in our own family.We donít know exactly who has gone to heaven and who is still waiting in Purgatory but it has always been the custom in the Church to pray for the dead and to have Masses said for the repose of their souls, especially on the day of their anniversary or birthday.


If we wish to have a Mass celebrated for a particular intention, all we need to do is to give the details to the priest.It is usual to give an offering which can be put into an envelope.


November is the month of the Holy Souls

Certain Masses are dedicated in each parish throughout the month for the Holy Souls. ††It is customary to add the names of our deceased loved ones to this list.There is usually a slip in the church porch which can be filled in.This means that our own Holy Souls will be included whenever the priest says these particular Masses.


Prayer for the Holy Souls

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.May they rest in peace.Amen.