The Christian Roots of Halloween

10-28-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I read a few years ago that – much to my surprise – Halloween has become the second largest commercial holiday in our society. In other words, people spend more on Halloween than they do on any day other than Christmas! Driving around town and seeing all the ghosts and other decorations, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Halloween today is a far cry from the days when kids of my generation dressed up like baseball players and clowns!

What many people do not know is that Halloween has its roots in our Christian history. As you know, All Saints Day is November 1. At certain times in history, it was customary for Christians to "dress up" as their patron or favorite saints on the eve of All Saints Day – called All Hallows (saints) Eve. From this came the custom of dressing up for Halloween.


It is a Good and Holy Thing to Pray for the Dead

10-21-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I had a nice time at last Sunday's Roast Beef Dinner at our parish school. The Knights, Columbiettes, and all their helpers are to be commended for a job well done. I had both lunch and dinner there – and enjoyed both meals! Even better was the time spent with so many good people that day.

As I was looking ahead in my envelope packet, I noticed that it's time to complete our All Souls Envelopes. That being the case, I thought it would be a good idea to spend some time explaining why we do that.

St. Monica was a woman of great faith who lived in the 300's. During her final illness, her sons asked if she wanted them to send her body back to her native land for burial. Her answer to them was classic: "Bury this old body anywhere. Don't trouble yourself over it. I simply ask you to remember me at the Lord's Altar wherever you are."


Matrimony: A Sign of God's Love

10-14-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I had a great time at my seminary reunion a couple of weeks ago. Not only was it nice to see old friends, it was even nicer to be at the place where my priestly vocation matured in so many ways. I made a point of praying for all of you both at the Tomb of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the National Grotto of Lourdes (a beautiful place of prayer on the mountain behind the seminary). To those of you who gave me special intentions – please know that I made a point of reading each one and mentioning it in my prayers.


St. Francis and Respect for Every Human Person

10-07-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

The Blessing of Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi will take place today (Sunday) at 12:15 PM. Everyone is welcome to bring their pets (or other animals) to the parking lot next to Mercy Hall for the blessing. As Catholics, we ask God's blessing upon our animals as a way of thanking Him for them, acknowledging the special role they play in creation, and asking Him to protect them. I always enjoy seeing people and their pets at this brief ceremony.