Has October been taken over by all things spooky and ghoulish? Andrea Bear shares ways to emphasize sanctity by revving up for two November feast days.
October seems to center around spooky decorations and all things pumpkin spice, but for Catholics, there are many beautiful feast days to celebrate this month. Saint Faustina, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the feast of the Guardian Angels, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint John Paul II, Saint Luke, and of course Our Lady of the Rosary are feasts in the month of October.
But how much time do we emphasize celebrating the saints, praying for the souls in purgatory, or praying for our own souls here on earth if our attention is on goblins and jack-o-lanterns? While the secular world tends to concentrate on the spooky and the scary, October is really an opportunity to celebrate the sacred and the holy.
Tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (Matthew 27:52)
I’m not trying to negate the fun of dressing up, bite-sized candies, neighborhood decorations, and the splendor of fall, but since secular traditions tends to stress Halloween as creepy and demonic, so many people forget that ALL Hallows Eve, the eve of All Saints Day, which is a Holy Day of obligation, commemorates all the holy ones who have gone before us. And following this, is All Souls Day. We are taught this is the day the most souls can be freed from purgatory. Our entire faith is focused on our preparation of the eternal life. These are the days we should be preparing for the most.
For the living know that they are to die, but the dead no longer know anything. There is no further recompense for them, because all memory of them is lost (Ecclesiastes 9:5)
While it might seem impossible to take the world away from the spookier factors, there are small simple ways we can change the way we use our time. Maybe this October while lighting the cinnamon- and vanilla-scented candles, we can consider some small but meaningful ways to gear up for All Saints and All Souls Day. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- If you’re a regular Rosary pray-er, offer up one of your Rosaries each week for the souls in purgatory.
- If you aren’t a regular Rosary pray-er, say 10 Hail Mary’s a day to lead up to All Souls Day for the souls in purgatory. Who knows: you might start praying more!
- Say a novena leading up to All Souls Day, beginning nine days before. You can get a daily email reminder from PrayMoreNovenas.com.
- Instead of dressing up as a spooky character for Halloween, dress up as a famous saint, such as Joan of Arc, Saint Michael the Archangel, or Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Honor those who have given their lives to God, and model holiness rather than spookiness.
- Gather a small group together and have a prayer time or Bible study. Bring all your fall cozies but center it around Our Lady or the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
- Some countries like Poland and Mexico, begin preparing the headstones of their loved ones with flowers or prayer cards and candles. Offer up Rosaries for your loved ones before All Souls Day.
- Let these feast days remind you to have a Mass said for your loved ones. It is the highest form of prayer to have a Mass said for our deceased loved ones.
- Many churches will include the names of deceased loved ones as a way to pray for them on All Souls Day.
Keeping little moments of prayer and sanctity in your life can really change the meaning of the month of October.
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9)
What other ways can you prepare to celebrate All Saints and All Souls Day in October? Share in the comments below.
Copyright 2023 Andrea Bear
About the Author
Andrea Bear is a wife, mom, and teacher in Stockton, California. In addition to CatholicMom.com, she also writes for HerLife Magazine and Catholic Stand. She recently completed her debut novel, Grieving Daughters Club. When she's not writing or taking her kids to volleyball practice you can find her sipping coffee from the neighborhood coffee establishments or tasting wine from the local vineyards. Visit AndreaBearAuthor.com.