Author Archives: Printery House

A Spooky Timeline

Over 2000 years ago:

Halloween’s original creators came from the Celtic religion. The Celts were usually found in areas that are currently known as the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland areas. The ancient Celtic festival, Samhain, is believed to be the beginning of what we know as Halloween. Samhain was celebrated because the end of October was considered the end of harvest. The end of harvest was recognized as the end of the year for the Celts, this was their time to celebrate the end of the year. To celebrate, the Celts believed that on the night of October 31st the dead returned to earth annually. The Celts feared evil so while attending Samhain, they lit bonfires and dressed in costume to disguise themselves from evil.

A.D 680:

Christianity spread across the Celtic regions. Pope Boniface IV essentially began All Saints Day with the Pantheon in Rome to honor all Christian martyrs. He originally dedicated the feast on May 13th.  

Mid-8th Century: 

During the mid-eighth century, Pope Gregory III changed the date of the Pantheon to November 1st and also added all saints to the celebration. He then changed the name from Pantheon to All Saints Day. 

1000 A.D.: 

The Catholic Church then added All Souls Day making the two day holiday a trio. All Souls Day takes place on November 2nd every year. All Souls Day was originally celebrated the same way the Samhain festival was. We still observe All Souls Day to honor and celebrate the dead today. 

All Saints Day used to be referred to as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas. This explains where All-Hallows-Eve came from. We have evolved All-Hallows-Eve to what is called Halloween today.  

1840s: 

When the Irish Potato Famine came about in 1841, Irish immigrants came to America all at once. Because the Celts were mostly in Northern Ireland, Halloween was a very popular holiday in the 1840s for most of the Irish. Once the Irish immigrants came to America, the holiday became popular here as well. 

Late 1800s:

During the late 1800s there was a push to make Halloween less scary and to create a neighborly holliday instead. The media tried to convince parents to not allow their children to dress up as something scary or grim. Because of this, Halloween lost a lot of the religious connotations.

1900s:

By the 1920s -1950s, Halloween parties became a part of the Halloween festivities that made Halloween a popular holiday among people across America. Parties were popular among both adults and children. The practice of trick-or-treating became extremely possible during this time in history. Trick-or-treating became extremely popular like it had been in the past. Trick-or-treating came about in the 1950s. The tradition has grown since. Halloween movies also became a popular phenomenon in America during this time.

Today:

Halloween is rarely associated with the Catholic religion, however, the Catholic religion plays a huge role in the history of the holiday. All Saints Day and All Souls Day is still celebrated by Catholics everywhere. These two days are to remind us to pray for our saints and all souls that have been taken from earth and to remind us that this holiday is important for us to take time to pray for those we have lost and reflect on what they have sacrificed for us. 

Sources: History.com, https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

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A Season of Mercy

“Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18:39b

The month of December we see people hustling and bustling getting ready for Christmas, and there is a lot of joy that comes with this time of year.  However, this time of year is also difficult for a lot of people. They may be mourning the loss of a loved one or feeling alone and depressed. Whatever the reason, we need to remember the hope that comes from the mercy of God.

God’s mercy is all around us, and no matter how far we feel from Him or others, God is always near. This Advent and Christmas Season may we take a moment to think about the people in our lives that we have pushed away or have wronged.  When considering those people, we may also think about people who have hurt us, and ask ourselves “How can I take a step in forgiving them? How can I take a step in showing them hope?  How can I take a step in showing them mercy?”  Taking this step may not be easy.  The blind man called out to Jesus “Son of David, have mercy on me!” and the people around told him to be quiet and to stop calling out.  But Jesus heard his call and asked him what he wanted.  The blind man said that he wanted to see.

This Christmas Season may we find the faith, hope, and mercy of God!  May we not be afraid to ask God, and the people around us, for help, when we are struggling.  Whether we already have the Joy of the season within our hearts, or if we are striving to see that hope; may we genuinely find the gift of mercy this holiday season.

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In Everything Give Thanks

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16-18

In everything that we say and do we should give thanks to God!  The month of November is here, and it is a time of giving thanks for the blessings in our lives.  There is a distinct turning point that seems to happen within the monastery during November.  The solemnity of All Saints on November 1 welcomes this shift within my spirit each year as we celebrate first Vespers on October 31.  The sun has almost set, and the Basilica is adorned with the relics of the saints.  The monks are lining up for the procession into church and there a sense of calm as one contemplates the Saints that have gone before us.  On the feast of All Saints, I give thanks to God for my vocation as a monk and priest of Conception Abbey.

As we move through the month of November, we are reminded of all the souls that have gone before us into the Eternal Kingdom.  During the first week of November I like to walk through our cemetery and pray for the monks who have died.  I also give thanks to God for their vocation, and for the work that they had done to make Conception Abbey a beautiful place to live and worship Him.

The week of Thanksgiving all the monks on mission come home for meetings and to celebrate the jubilee of profession or priest of confreres celebrating.  The junior monks put together a program to honor those monks who have dedicated their lives to the work of God.  Of course, Thanksgiving Day is the highlight as we give thanks to God for the many blessings we have received, with the celebration of the Eucharist, and then move to the dining room to give thanks with a delicious meal.

My brothers and sisters, may we take time these days to be mindful of the many blessing that we have received.  May we take time to recognize that God is at work within each and everyone of us.  May we take time to pray, and most importantly may we take time to give thanks.  On behalf of all the monks and the staff at The Printery House; we would like to wish you all a Blessed and Thankful, Thanksgiving Day!

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Advent Devotional Readings

Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. We are full of hopeful expectations as we prepare for the birth of our Savior and the promise of the new year. 

In this time, we can really prepare by reflecting on our deep need for Jesus through Advent devotional booklets. These booklets let us bring focus each day to the things that truly matter in our lives and help us to prepare ourselves to receive God’s gift of Jesus. These booklets are not only great gifts for others but could be one of the best gifts to give ourselves. 

Below are a few of our Advent booklets available this season. Click the link to learn more. http://bit.ly/2ysDRSo 

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