Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Reclaiming the Culture for Christ

October 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

Children dressed as saints in a costume workshop in Kansas (Photo: CNS)

Here is what I think is a good idea. (But, please, not in the sanctuary.)

(From the

The bishops (of Great Britain) are launching a campaign… to reclaim the Christian festival of “All Hallows Eve” that, in their opinion, has become dangerously paganized and heavily commercialized.

They want Christians to understand that Halloween was once the vigil feast of All Saints’ Day, which is celebrated on November 1 and which remains a Holy Day of Obligation.

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: “Halloween is now the biggest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter, and it is time we reminded Christians of what it really is. The celebration of feast days is an important part of our Catholic culture.

It is the first time the bishops have ever endorsed “the Night of Light”, an international campaign to reclaim Halloween that was started in 2001 by Damian Stayne, the founder of Cor et Lumen Christi, a Catholic community.

The initiative has been gaining ground among Christians left uneasy by the emphasis on horror themes in modern Halloween celebrations.

Several years ago Council 11411 of the Knights of Columbus , in line with the “Keeping Christ in Christmas” campaign of the K of C,  began a “Breakfast with St. Nicholas” to reclaim the Catholic tradition behind the character of the secular Santa Clause. John Larish, a Knight in the Cleveland Council and parishioner at St. Anne’s on Mt. Hope Avenue, purchased a Saint Nicholas costume and offered to be our Saint Nick for the breakfast. The red costume of the bishop beautifully paralleled the Santa Claus costume. It was a real hit. John has since played St. Nicholas to hundreds of kids at many venues around Rochester including Christmas parties for  the boy scouts, the George Eastman House, and Sacred Heart Cathedral parish/cluster. At the Knights breakfast we had placards on the table explaining the Catholic background to Santa Claus and listing the several names that St. Nick goes by in different countries of the world.

Such reclamation activities would be great for parish youth groups, some of whom I’m sure already do such things. The danger, of course, is that the activity will spill over into the Liturgy. That, in my opinion, is totally unacceptable. Herding the kids into the church and around the altar only teaches the young ones that the church is a place of entertainment and frivolity with no special, sacred nature or purpose. Use the social hall.

Be sure to click on and read the entire story on the English bishops’ campaign to reclaim Halloween. There are several suggestions for how we can use our houses to promote a Christian meaning to the holiday –its meaning as a holy day.

Read the comments after the article as well. Not everyone agrees with this concept -at least not for this particular holiday.

For saint costumes try: sttp://

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3 Responses to “Reclaiming the Culture for Christ”

  1. Anonymous says:

    St John Bosco School students are required to dress up as a Saint or Blessed, write a report and present it to the student body. We enjoy a craft and a party. Truly a Holy Day to celebrate, which we do celebrate!

  2. Anonymous says:

    At Mother of Sorrows school, too, the kids dress up as saints, complete with reports, etc.

  3. A Catholic says:

    Archangel School here in Rochester has been doing this for years.

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