As the weather begins to cool and the trees put on an impressive golden display, it marks the beginning of a special season filled with wonderful family and liturgical celebrations. From special sweaters and scarves (though not that often in South Florida, I admit), football season, and hot cocoa, to campfire smores, thanksgiving recipes and leaf piles to jump into… every family has their own special traditions and touches for this time of year. One of our family’s favorite upcoming celebrations is the Feast of All Saints, or All Saints’ Day, on November 1st. It is the perfect day to look back at the Saints we have learned about all year, or to learn about new Saints.
Among the many popular activities this month, such as apple picking, hayrides and corn mazes, is the carving and decorating of pumpkins. This year, we would like to invite your family to join ours in making Saint-O’-Lanterns in honor and celebration of All Saints’ Day.
Designs can be as simple as a cross or rosary, or as elaborate as a relief carving of special Saint. Paint, ribbons, markers, melted crayons, or an actual carving… the creative possibilities are endless (as always, age appropriateness and safety should be considered). If you have trouble selecting a design, try to look online or in your favorite saint books for symbols or ideas. As a special extra, have each family member or team share about their design (maybe talk about the chosen saint’s life, or any special or personal meaning to their design). This activity would work very well with family and friends or even in a youth group or class.
Whether they are painted or carved, our family has found this to be a wonderful activity for all ages to enjoy outdoors together in the cooler weather. We try to not waste any parts by collecting the seeds and unused insides or parts for baking later (fresh baked pumpkin bread is also wonderful this time of year). We also make it a point to include a prayer of thanks (another theme of the season) and ask the Saints for their intercession as we complete our special artwork. Below is a special prayer that your family may use for this activity, or anytime in these autumn months:
O God of Creation,
You have blessed us with the changing of the seasons.
As we welcome the autumn months,
may the earlier setting of the sun
remind us to take time to rest.
May the brilliant colors of the leaves
remind us of the wonder of your creation.
May the steam of our breath in the cool air
remind us that it is you who give us the breath of life.
May the harvest from the fields
remind us of the abundance we have been given
and bounty we are to share with others.
May the dying of summer's spirit
remind us of your great promise
that death is temporary, and life is eternal.
We praise you for your goodness forever and ever.
We would love to see and post some of your family’s Saint-O’-Lanterns!
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
Mary our Good Mother, pray for us.