Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is just that - the eve of the Christian holiday of All Hallows or All Saints, celebrated on November 1st.
While All Saints celebrates all the extraordinary men and women of Christian faith throughout history, and All Souls commemorates all the faithful departed, where, exactly does that leave Halloween?
Halloween marks the beginning of this three-day festival, and because it is a festival honoring the dead, many rich cultural traditions have grown up around the feast, such as lighting candles and leaving food at gravesites.
As the days shorten and the nights grow longer, many cultures designated this time of year as a kind of "thin place," where the distance between worlds is not so great.
In short, it is a way for the living and the dead to come together, to celebrate with those "on another shore, in a greater light."
At St. Mary's, we celebrate Halloween by gathering in the chill of night in the graveyard to hear mystifying lessons from Holy Scripture - stories like the Witch of Endor, Eliphaz the Temanite, and Michael and the Dragon. We also hear commentary from the infamous Screwtape, one of C.S. Lewis' best-loved and most notorious characters.
You are encouraged to wear your costume for this service and the reception afterward!
The next day, we gather in the graveyard again to celebrate All Saints and pray for the souls of all the faithful departed.
You are welcome to join us for any or all of the celebration! Please call the parish offices at (602) 354-7540 if you need a ride to the service.