Tampa: All Hallow's Eve and All Souls' Celebrations

All Hallows Eve

By Lili DeGrasse

All Hallow’s Eve Hayride

Can an All Hallow’s Eve event be fun and formative? Yes, it can! All Hallow’s Eve is, after all, the vigil of All Saints’ Day.

This year, Mary Help of Christians Center hosted the All Hallow’s Eve Hayride party on Friday, October 30. It included caramel apples and sweet treats, hot dogs and popcorn, short movies and games, and costumes of all kinds. The main attraction, however, was the hayride itself. Families and youth had the choice of two hayride routes: the scary or non-scary. The route for younger children took the hayrack riders through scenes of the lives of various saints (such as St. Joan of Arc, St. Cecilia, Don Bosco, and St. George), to the crucifixion of Jesus, to purgatory—all nicely narrated and represented live by our many volunteers—and ended in heaven (which, by the way, included bags of candy and sweets). The second hayride route added a little more: its path took the hayrack riders through hell and the seven deadly sins of sloth, anger, greed, envy, lust, vanity, and pride. The night ended with a “fire” Rosary prayed in front of the Don Bosco statue across from the main building and a Good Night from Fr. Franco Pinto.

All Souls’ Mass at Mary Help Cemetery

Mary Help of Christians Center celebrated its All Souls’ Mass at the cemetery on the property on the morning of Saturday, October 31. The tent was up, the weather cooperated (high 60’s and sunny) and Mass-goers brought photographs of their deceased loved ones to place at the altar. Before the 10:00 AM EST Mass began, we prayed the Rosary. Mass was presided by Fr. Franco Pinto, concelebrated by the Salesian priests of Mary Help, and assisted by Deacon Ed Anctil.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God” (1032).

At the Mass we recalled our deceased relatives and friends, voicing their names out loud during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and united with the whole Catholic Church, we commemorated and prayed for the beloved dead who may yet be waiting in purgatory for the full joy of heaven.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

November 4, 2020 - 9:42am
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