Reclaiming Halloween

What springs to mind when you think of Halloween? Spooky witches, ghosts and skeletons - all images of darkness and death. In fact, Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, as the evening of 31 October was originally called, is the vigil of the Feast of All Saints, a celebration of the glory of God in the saints.

A Catholic community is working to revive this ancient Christian festival. The Cor-Lumen Christi community, based in Chertsey, Surrey, has issued a leaflet, which they have distributed to many church communities calling for the revival of All Hallows' Eve and giving a list of 'key elements' of the 'Night of Light'.

Andrew Fava, one of the group leaders, said: "Everything is exactly the opposite of the way Halloween is celebrated now." Andrew explained, on Halloween, Cor-Lumen will be attending a special vigil Mass at St Anne's Church in Chertsey, followed by all night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

There will be treats for the children including lighting a special candle, sweets and toys, bonfires and dressing up as saints. Members will be placing candles in their windows and wearing white as a symbol of their allegiance to Christ.

Organiser Damian Stayn said: "Halloween is the festival when we celebrate the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God's holy ones in heaven. Jesus is the 'Light of the world'; the saints lived by that light, and became beacons in their own times. We too are called to live out this vocation: to be the 'Light of the world' today."

"In this special year of Jubilee, let Christians reclaim Halloween for God so that it is transformed from a night of darkness into a great Christian festival once again. In this way, in years to come, when people are asked what immediately springs to mind when they think of Halloween, they will think of Jesus Christ and the glory of God in his saints.

"The idea came to our founder member Damian Stayn some time ago. He prayed about it for a long time. Since we sent out the leaflet, we have had quite a large response from parishes and communities around the country."

The Cor-Lumen community started about 10 years ago. There are 45 members. Some live in the same house. They gather for community prayer and music and participate in outreach work. You can contact them on: 01932 565747.

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