Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family


October 2011

All Hallow’s Eve…why we celebrate

This is an updated repost from 2007…as we prepare for a fun-filled evening of begging candy from friends and neighbors, I thought I’d yet again reiterate my very strong feelings as to why Catholics should reclaim the holiday from it’s current paganization:

October 31st marks All Hallow’s Eve. For most of us, we fondly remember our childhood…anxiously awaiting the time that we would don our costumes and venture into the cold, frosty evening to beg for candy from our friends and neighbors.

Times have changed. Many families have opted to avoid acknowledging All Hallow’s Eve, opting for All Saint’s Day celebrations and Fall Festivals at local Protestant churches. While all of these endeavours are noteworthy and laudable, I’m a bit concerned by what I see as a trend to “turn-over” one day of the year to the forces of evil and bow to the pressures of political correctness.

Until recently, I lived for many years in a predominately Protestant community. I’ve seen the effects of the demonization of All Hallow’s Eve. I’ve been presented with the Jack Chick tracts. I’ve witnessed the first hand campaign and political pressure that local churches have placed upon officials to suppress the observance of All Hallow’s Eve.

Recently, I’ve watched the Muslim community (with near success) lobby to have both Christmas and All Hallow’s Eve suppressed at a local school in Illinois, finally accepting the addition of Ramadan to the holiday observances.

These are not the actions of the satanists, wiccans or pagans.

In the past, it was the practice of the Holy Roman Catholic Church to take a pagan holiday and Christianize it. It seems that the tide has turned. We have now given over this day.  Joining the ranks of quite a few Protestants and Muslims, our boycott has all the appearance of a surrender. Interestingly enough, the day we have given over, October 31st, isn’t the day that satanists have chosen as their “feast”…here is a quote from the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth:

“Here it is on Christmas Eve that the Satanists have their orgies. Nothing happens on October 31. But if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”

I don’t believe I would ever wish any of my children to dress as witches and devils, but it is easy to grasp the point that Fr. Amorth is making. (Remember: this is the same Fr. Amorth who is vehemently opposed to the Harry Potter books. He is intensely concerned with the protection of souls.) From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” (Catechism, #2116)

So…this year Little Red Riding Hood and a Ninja will approach generous donors for candy alms. Accompanied an Army Chaplain and a U.S. Marine, they’ll brave the other ghouls and goblins, princesses and super heroes. We are reclaiming All Hallow’s Eve. A merry band of Catholic children dressed as fairy tale characters and real-life heroes, each with the understanding that on the heels of the Feast Of Christ the King, a powerful Christian witness is just what the world needs…


The frost is on the punkin…

I’ve missed you, my friends!  Life has been so incredibly full, so incredibly busy, so incredibly joy-filled…I have much to share!  At present, on this windy-yet-wonderful October day, I’ll have to settle with sharing one of my favorite poems.  With bits of snow flying, dusting my front porch pumpkins and fodder, it seemed so very appropriate.  Enjoy!

When the Frost is on the Punkin

By James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

One fine day, in the Fall…

…this past Sunday to be precise, we took a jaunt to a local orchard and pumpkin patch.  It was a spontaneous trip…we’d all planned a Sabbath “rest” (read that as “nap!”) but the blue sky and crisp breeze beckoned us outdoors…to harvest a day of joy and pure picking pleasure:

First, the apples…a bushel and a half.  As I type, some of the fruits of our labors are simmering in the crockpot; the scent of homemade cinnamon applesauce fills the air:

Then, the pumpkins.  Is there anything as jolly as field of pumpkins?  Big ones, small ones, fat ones, tall ones…something for everyone!

But what do you do, when the back hatch is filled to capacity with apples, cider, gourds and squash?  How do you carry six enormous pumpkins?  On your lap, of course!  With much hilarity, as dad intentionally hit every bump he could, taking every turn as sharply as possible…prolonging that 30 mile trip home…the children took it all with great humor.

What joy to trade a nap for memories…


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