Priest explains possible effect of dressing kids ‘as devils’

Priest explains possible effect of dressing kids ‘as devils’

Bgy. San Agustin, Q.C.’s Immaculate Conception parish priest Fr. Joel Saballa during his guesting in Radio Veritas Hello Father 911 on Sept. 17, 2018. During the program, he shared about HolyWin, a parade / walk of saints that celebrates the “victorious lives of saints” Catholics should imitate. MINNIE AGDEPPA

By Minnie Agdeppa

Nov. 1, 2018

QUEZON City

What’s the problem when it has become a trend for parents to dress their kids up as ghosts, monsters, or demons to celebrate Halloween? A lot, says a priest.

“The problem is we have mothers who are so happy seeing their children looking like ghosts, looking like demons, but when their children turn out to behave like demons, they get angry…when their children grow up and have a demon-like attitude, they don’t want it,” said Immaculate Conception Parish Priest Fr. Joel Saballa during a recent radio guesting.

In an interview on Oct. 24, the priest condemned the widely observed Westernized celebration of Halloween among Filipino Catholics, calling it Satan’s ”subtle yet damaging attack” on the young.

‘Subliminal attack’

“If you use [costumes] of ghosts, it is [succumbing to a] subliminal attack of Satan,” explained Saballa.

The priest, who is also Forane of the Vicariate of Our Lady of Mercy under the Diocese of Novaliches, recommended instead dressing up kids as saints. He explained that the word “Halloween” is from the word “hallow” — and meant to be a day to celebrate the saints. Saballa noted how today, it has an “ugly connotation.”

“But if you use the life of saints, it is a way to show children that we can actually live according to Christ through the use of saints we actually have,” he added.

A victorious celebration

His parish located in Barangay San Agustin in this city celebrates Halloween through an annual “Walk of Saints” entitled, “HolyWin: Panalo ang Buhay ng Mga Santo sa Mga Bata at Pamilya” (HolyWin: The Lives of Saints Win in the Lives of Children and in the Family). The event is a contest he launched five years ago to evangelize people and transform their way of thinking about the Christian way to celebrate Halloween.

“I thought of having this (HolyWin) because I see there is something wrong that is happening in society–that there are non-Christan acts being done,” recalled Saballa. “An example of this is being one in the celebration of Halloween where you see the life of ghosts–faces of ghosts where we actually don’t learn anything.”

But the priest said organizing the parade was no easy since there were still many people accustomed to the ghoulish celebration of Halloween.

“We started this on November 2013 with the goal to participate in the evangelization of changing the mindset or in forming people that this particular month or day is not for ghosts, not for the appearances of the devil but for the appearance of saints and of Christ whom we should remember and inculcate in the lives of our children,” he emphasized.

“Thus, it is so beautiful that ‘What I wear is the costume of a saint and not of a ghost. What I live is the life of Christ and the saints and not of ghosts and demons,'” he explained, pertaining to the their parish’s annual “Walk of Saints” theme.

After six years

The priest attests that the annual parade has helped the local community return to the original celebration of Halloween. “Unlike before that there are many subdivisions which practice the Western Halloween celebration where you could see at night–especially on Oct. 31 that they hold it, you don’t see any one doing it any more,” he noted.

“Our evangelization surely helped after almost six years,” he remarked, “Now parents look forward to this day to see their children dressed as saints.”

In the Sept. 17, 2018 guesting Saballa had at Radio Veritas Hello Father 911, he said a “list of 365 Days of saints” is actually posted in his parish office so parishioners can choose which costume to make for HolyWin.

He also stated that the campaign to evangelize does not only involve parishioners but also companies and the barangay under their parish which they discourage from participating in commercialized Halloween celebrations. He also annually invites members of the media to visist their parish for HolyWin.

HolyWin is organized by the Immaculate Conception Parish every last Sunday of October, which this year falls on Oct. 28.