By Samuel Medenilla and Leslie Ann Aquino
Instead of pretending to be diabolical and ghoulish creatures in this Christian holiday season, the Catholic church calls on the faithful to “focus on the divine” rather than the earthly concerns.
Fr. Rolando Arjonillo, administrator of Catholics Striving for Holiness (CSH), said the holidays devoted to All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days should be a time to reflect about one’s “divine calling.”
“Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day are not only occasions when we should be reminded of our earthly life’s fleeting state – the reality of death, of our particular judgement, of heaven, purgatory and of hell, but also the time when the Church beckons us to reflect on the meaning and purpose of our existence and of our divine calling to eternal happiness made possible by living a holy earthly existence,” Arjonillo said in a article published at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.
Arjonillo said this will allow the faithful to emulate the examples of the Christian Saints in overcoming sin and finding eternal happiness.
He issued the reminder to discourage the popular tradition in Western countries to celebrate Halloween by wearing costumes of modern icons.
Arjonillo described it as the “banalized and commercialized meaning of Halloween.”
‘March of Saints’
For his part, Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud suggested other ways of observing the season like participating in the March of Saints, which he said is a “Catholic alternative” to Halloween parties.
“Instead of participating in Halloween parties where people wear scary costume everyone is being encouraged, especially the youth, to join the March of Saints as participants here are dressed like that of saints,” he said in a pastoral letter.
The prelate also reminded the faithful that prayer and Mass are more important to the departed than material offerings.
“It is more beneficial to them if we offer Mass, rosary, prayers and sacrifices to them. We need not give them food or drinks as they won’t benefit from this,” said Bancud.
He added: “Let us maintain the holiness of cemeteries where the dead lie.”
This means, avoiding making too much noise, drinking and playing while inside the cemetery, he said.
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