Sunday, November 09, 2008

Halloween night at church

On Halloween night I went to an all-night adoration thing at St. Thérèse Church in Alhambra (not to be confused with the all-night adoration thing I went to on election night at St. Peter Chanel.) We were praying for the world, and the coming elections, and our own intentions, and in reparation for the evil things that people unfortunately get up to at Halloween. (My sister told me once that the cat shelter she was associated with has a policy of not letting black cats be adopted in the month of October, because they might be sacrificed in Satanic rituals. It's out there...)

St. Thérèse is a large church, mostly stone, with lots of stained glass and about six side chapels. So imagine how beautiful it looked that night when then turned off the lights and only the hundreds of candles flickering in the alcoves were lighting up the place. Once again there were lots of people there, many of them young adults, and when I left at 2 am most of them were staying. Fr. Robert, a newly ordained Carmelite priest, gave a few talks that evening (including his conversion story-- very interesting-- as a teenager he was into occultic stuff so it was pretty appropriate for Halloween!) In between we prayed the Rosary, or prayed in silence, or chowed down outside where good food and coffee was provided all night.

But what I wanted to mention was my impression when I first entered the church. I came in through one of the three sets of double doors in the back. At once I saw the candlelight, the great high ceiling lost in darkness, the many thick stone pillars looking mystical in the gloom. I saw the forms of hundreds of people kneeling in silence. And up front there was Fr. Robert in the sanctuary, not far from the altar where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. He had wavy black hair and a neatly trimmed black beard, and he was wearing a cope (basically a cape), one of the traditional garments that priest sometimes have for liturgical functions outside of Mass. He was kneeling to one side, facing the altar, his form outlined by flaring candles, and do you know what it all reminded me of? Dracula!

Probably not the vibe they were going for, especially on a night that was meant to be counterprogramming to Halloween! But it wasn't the church's fault. The Dracula legend and the films and all were influenced by Catholic culture, so I suppose that's why there was such a similarity between them and the very traditional Catholic look that St. Thérèse Church had that night. And I wasn't worried. We had plenty of holy water and crucifixes nearby. :)


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

:), glad you enjoyed yourself, and also glad that we had crucifixes to fend off dracula, lol ;)...I think my knees are just finished recovering from the that long night

JimAroo said...

Dear I.K.,

And I quote from your post:

"........., or chowed down outside where good food and coffee was provided all night."

Here we go again.