Iloilo holds first alternative Halloween celebration

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The practice of having children dressed up as their favorite saints during Halloween has been a practice already adopted by some parishes in Manila, like the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao where this photo was taken during the pre-launch of the March of Saints last July 27. (Photo: Carlos Oda)

JARO, Iloilo, Oct. 28, 2013—The parish of Sto. Niño de Arevalo will hold the first ever alternative Halloween celebration in Iloilo. 

Arevalo parish priest Msgr. Amadeo Escañan, announced that the Holy Name of Jesus Parish will celebrate October 31—popularly known as Halloween—as the festival of all holy men and women. 

Msgr. Escañan explained that, instead of the usual festival of ghouls, goons and ghosts, his parish will celebrate the eve of the Solemnity of All Saints with a Procession of Saints, explaining that Halloween, held usually in exclusive villages and shopping malls, has become overly-commercialized. 

In the Procession of all Saints that will be held in Sto. Niño de Arevalo on October 31, people are invited to assemble in the parish grounds at 3:30 p.m. to witness the representation of the saints. Five children from each of the 10 Barangays of the parish will represent particular saints. 

Msgr. Escañan noted that October 31 is also the last day of the Month of the Holy Rosary. His parish will also hold on that day a Marian Procession with the prayer of the Holy Rosary and the Holy Mass as a fitting way to honor Holy Mary as the Queen of All Saints. 

The Church, particularly in the provinces of Panay, has lamented the phenomenon of people falling into superstitious beliefs and practices. 

It can be recalled that only a few years ago, in 2006, the Archdiocese of Capiz issued a statement calling for a stop to the annual “Aswang Festival”, saying it increases the appeal of witchcraft to many people and that the festival makes “evil” characters appear “cool and innocent.” 

The same Archdiocesan statement warned that these mystical figures, such as the “aswang” (witch), can become dangerous once they enter into the psyche of the (people) and form part of the culture of Capiz. 

By celebrating the Procession of Saints in the parish of Sto. Niño de Arevalo in the eve of All Saints Day, it is hoped that the witness of young children will remind the faithful of the fundamental call of all the baptized to holiness especially in the Year of Faith. 

To further emphasize the teaching of the Catholic Faith on the Communion of Saints, the celebration of All Saints Day and the commemoration of the faithful departed will be given their full spiritual meaning through the celebration of the Holy Mass in the churches and cemeteries of the parishes in Iloilo on October 31, November 1, and November 2. The faithful are encouraged to offer suffrages, especially Masses, for the holy souls. 

Aside from the spiritual aspect of the Communion of Saints, parishes in Iloilo have appealed to the faithful to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Bohol. Donations received by the parishes will be forwarded by the Archdiocese of Jaro to the dioceses in Bohol. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

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