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Iloilo parish brings back ‘holy’ in Halloween

By Karen Varona

October 28, 2019

Iloilo City

While others welcome Halloween by dressing up to be scary, children at the Holy Name of Jesus Parish in this city celebrated by dressing up to be holy.

The tradition, which started in this parish in 2013, aims to counter the Western-inspired concept of Halloween and bring the celebration closer to its roots.

Halloween literally means “holy evening” and was meant to celebrate all holy men and women.

This year’s celebration, held on Oct. 27, was highlighted with a procession around the church block and ended with a Mass and the coronation of Mary as “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and Queen of all Saints”.

“This is one way of evangelizing children into the proper way of celebrating Halloween, by bringing them closer to God through the saints they dress up like,” said Holy Name of Jesus parish priest Fr. Clasico Nufable.

“We should be celebrating holiness so that children will grow up to be good and God-fearing like the saints they are imitating,” he said.

Assistant parish priest Fr. Raymund Acebuque also underlined the importance of bringing children closer to saints so they don’t “grow up lost” and estranged from the church.

More than 80 participants, mostly children, joined the celebration with the youngest, dressed up as St. Cecilia, at one year old, and the oldest, dressed up as St. Helena, at 65years old.

The parish alternative Halloween celebration in Santo Niño de Arevalo began when the late Msgr. Amadeo Escañan headed the parish.

At the time, the priest observed that more and more commercial establishments set up scary Halloween decorations and lamented that the modern celebration of Halloween had degenerated into an overly-commercialized event.

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