Pray for the Dead
This ritual can be as elaborate or simple as you like. You can sit quietly and pray for your loved ones who have passed on, especially for those who have physically died in the last year bringing each one to mind. Here is one to get you started if you don’t know what to say or if the loss is still too fresh.
I commend you, my dear [name] to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator.
May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels and all the saints welcome you now that you have gone forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise.
May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of his flock.
May he forgive all your sins, and set you among those he has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face, and enjoy the vision of God, forever.
Halloween bonfires dates back to the start of this ancient celebration. It symbolizes the Light of the World and the fires of the Holy Spirit. As we light it we remind ourselves to live in the Light of God’s presence until we join Him, through His Grace in Heaven.
Stories around the Bonfire
Telling of tales, the more fantastic the better, have always been told around campfires, bonfires, and home fires. It is a family way of entertaining each other. And again, we must remember family is never gone so we entertain them as well. The stories were sometimes called witch’s tales, what we now refer to as fairy tales, although now that you think about it, witches are far more prevalent in them.
“A witch’s tale and a cup of ale for the host of our guests unseen.”
Trick or Treat
From the Celtic Catholics we get begging from door to door, the earlier and more pure form of “trick-or-treating.” People would go door to door to beg for the poor. Children would receive a “Soul Cake,” and in gratitude they would say a prayer for those neighbors’ dead.
And when he had made a collection man by man to the sum of two thousand drachmas of silver, he sent to Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice for sin, doing therein right well and honorably, in that he took thought for a resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it were superfluous and idle to pray for the dead. (And if he did it looking to an honorable memorial of gratitude laid up for those who die in godliness, holy and godly was the thought.) Wherefore he made the atoning sacrifice for those who had died, that they might be released from their sin. 2 Maccabees 12:43–45
Instead of knocking on a door and saying the threatening, “Trick-or-treat” which is a greedy ugly way of blackmailing someone, children would say either: A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake, have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake! Or sometimes they would sing the entire song:
A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake; have mercy on
All Christen souls for a Soul Cake.
Soul Cake! Soul Cake! A Soul Caking we go!
We pray, good mistress, for a Soul Cake, Oh!
One for Peter, and Two for Paul!
Three for the One that made us all!
If you haven’t got a Soul Cake how about an Apple or two?
If you haven’t got and apple, a penny will do.
For harvest is coming and the geese are getting fat,
Please, good mistress, a penny for the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’ penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’ penny,
Then my God bless you!
It is said that a clever medieval cook wanted to make Soul Cakes designed to remind people of eternity, so she cut a hole in the middle of round cake before frying them in the Halloween bonfire, thereby inventing donuts. The Soul Cake, like all of the treats are ephemeral, because as these earthly treats will pass away and they make us more mindful to store our treasure in heaven. Recipe link below.
But why dress up for Halloween? Some say it was because people used to think that the demons were loose and you don’t want them to know who you are — which is utter nonsense! The costumes represent the wondering souls, so that they are remembered and prayers are said for them. This is being revived with children dressing up as Saints (All Hallows Eve is the night before All Saints Day, which is then followed by All Souls Day). This holiday is all about remembering the dead, because “One who has gone before do not cease to be one of the family,” as the saying goes.
A bit of desk pounding here: For this reason, I feel that it is highly inappropriate for people to wallow in the grossities and “ooooh, soo spooky and evil — ha-ha” that surrounds this holiday. Evil is not funny — ever! It has never, ever been a laughing matter to call upon the powers of darkness. This holiday is supposed to be a beautiful celebration of our friends and loved ones who have found their eternal reward and for those in need of help to be invited into the one family of God through prayer! Not a holiday to disrespect the dead with severed heads and eyeballs in goo, we are not just flesh! This is not a holiday that is about death and evil — but life and Love! True Life and God’s Love!
Visit the Graves
Visiting the graves of loved ones is part of the holiday in some Latin American, and Asian countries. People dress up and have picnics in the graveyard, singing dancing and remembering the loved one that they have come to share the holiday with. Knowing that they are not truly dead.
Prayer for the People that have no one to pray for them
Saint Gertrude the Great was given this prayer by Jesus for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. It is said that 1,000 souls are released from Purgatory every time it is prayed.
Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Make a Catafalque
It used to be that there was an empty coffin, a catafalque, on the altar during the All Soul’s Day Mass. Prayers for absolution were given to help the soul along the journey to Heaven. The purification that the soul goes through could be symbolized by candle burning brightly beside or in the open catafalque.
If you need Halloween recipes: https://trirad.medium.com/halloween-recipes-41df663ce70b
If you need an intro to what Halloween really is: https://trirad.medium.com/halloween-a1e4ab9becbd
Peace be with you.