.- In an international effort to “reclaim” Halloween as a “joyful” Christian celebration, a founder of a U.K.-based Catholic community has asked Christians to place a light in their window on Oct. 31 as a sign of their faith.
Damian Stayne, founder of the community Cor et Lumen Christi (Heart and Light of Christ), said the “Night of Light” initiative is the vigil of the Feast of All Saints, when Catholics celebrate “the glory of God in His saints, the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God's holy ones in heaven.” Jesus is the “Light of the World” by whom the saints lived and became a beacon to their generation, he explained.
Sayne said that in many countries prayer gatherings and children’s celebrations are being organized and participants are encouraged to place a light in their window in order to “visibly witness to neighbors and friends.”
This will show passersby that their household is Christian and that Christ is their light, organizers said. They suggested participants in the “Night of Light” also attend a vigil Mass for the Feast of All Saints, spend a night adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, or provide treats and fun for children by lighting a bonfire or dressing up as saints.
“Everyone is called by Jesus to live out this vocation - to be the ‘light of the world’ for others today,” Sayne continued.
The “Night of Light” event has taken place before, but this year it has established a partnership with the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBEW). Organizers are presenting it as a follow-up activity for the papal visit to the U.K.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chair of the CBEW’s Department for Evangelization and Catechesis, said Halloween is now the biggest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter and Christians need a reminder of its true nature.
“The celebration of feast days is an important part of our Catholic culture. On the evening of 31st October why not do something to make your faith respectfully seen and heard? Light a candle or display publicly another kind of light, for example, perhaps alongside an image of Christ.”
The bishop suggested this could be a “powerful way” to show Christians’ hope in “someone other than ourselves.”
“The light will provoke questions and is a way that people can be signposted to goodness. I encourage everyone to participate,” Bishop Conry commented.
The website for the event is at http://www.NightofLight.org.