THE MEANING OF ALL HALLOW'S EVE
The Irish gave us many things, but one of the best gifts was an appreciation for those who have gone before us. Halloween was their creation, or better said, a cooperative action between the Christians who came to convert the pagan Irish and those same pagans who loved the rich afterlife spoken of by the new religion. For a more indepth view of how this holiday developed and its relationship with All Saints and All Souls Days, check out my article here: Halloween: Playtime for Pagans or Christian Feast?
The picture above is of the grave of Fr. Manus Sweeney who was hanged in Newport, County Mayo in 1799 for his part in the 1798 Rebellion against the English occupiers. A martyr who has never been forgotten. The locals erected the memorial and keep it beautiful. The grave is found in the middle of Burrishoole Friary, a little monastery just outside of Newport on the banks of a tiny secluded cove of Clew Bay. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been and I finished this summer's Ireland excursion with a magical and divinely touched afternoon at this peaceful place. A thin place to be sure where the honored dead and the living breathe side by side, where the walls between the worlds are thin and if you listen carefully, behind the voices of birds and the lowing of cows, angels beat their wings acknowledging the presence of the Creator, his only Son, and the Spirit who fills the earth with life.
As we approach these wonderful Fall Feasts, may we all be conscious of the people who have gone before us, of the prayers of the saints, and of our obligation to pray for those dear departed who most need our aid.
Check out the article on Catholic Funeral and Burial Customs for Today.