I have to say it: Halloween isn't really my thing. I find it a little scary and manic and horror films really freak me out. I don't like anything to do with ghosts, the supernatural, the devil, slasher movies or violent crime. It's all a bit too much for me with my already over-active imagination. And I'm scared of the dark.
So it seems like a much nicer thing to celebrate today - All Saints' Day, with a nod to tomorrow and All Souls' Day (also the day my Great Grandmother died).
As my Mother and I entered the sacred space of the Cathedral, Sunday Mass had just finished and the procession were filing out to the street. The sound of the bells made me stop in my tracks. It was so beautiful and felt very special to witness such a scene.
I'm not Catholic, nor particularly religious, but the interior opulence and the sense of being in a place dedicated to worship; holy and good and steeped in history, was a very emotional experience. My Mother is Catholic and we both lit a candle and said a prayer.
Then I saw this prayer card and picked it up:
Preghiera a Sant'Alessandro (Prayer to Saint Alexander)*
Martyr Alexander witness of the word that is Jesus up to entrust to it your whole life, pray for us, because faith in the Lord Jesus, crucified and risen, tempers our heart, sustains our existence, orients our life choices, decisive or daily.
Pray for us, because the love that the Lord Jesus lived in fullness in the gift of himself to the Father on the cross, becomes the form of our life, the style of our relations.
Pray for those who suffer in body and spirit, for young people, for families, for those who are on the edge of society for many different reasons.
Make generous the hearts of young people in response to priestly vocation and special consecration.
Let your gaze contemplate the proclamation of mercy that saves. Amen.
So happy All Saints' Day.
I find churches and cathedrals so fascinating, and I don't think you need to be religious to appreciate their glory. Or maybe I'm wrong? I always thought I was a closet Catholic...
I did also wonder about the moral issue of taking photographs in a place so sacred, but everyone was doing so. Although that doesn't make it 'right', it was obviously 'allowed' and therefore I am grateful I got to preserve these images of my experience.
*NB. I don't speak Italian so it's more than likely this translation isn't an exact rendition of the Italian words.