By Michelle Thiessen
“You’re doing what on Halloween?!” That was the general response I received from family and friends when I told them I would be visiting a cemetery at midnight on Halloween night this year.
And so . . . our evening began. We watched the film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. You know, just to set the tone for the evening! This movie is based on true events and definitely provided food for thought. Personally, I don’t like to think or dwell on the idea that there is an ever-present evil in our world, but it’s important to not be ignorant of it either. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.(1 Peter 5:8). Following the film, we were happy to have Fr. Taras Kchik C.Ss.R give a short presentation and answer all of our questions.
Then off we went to Holy Family cemetery, the resting place of many of our dearly-departed Ukrainian Redemptorists. By candlelight, we celebrated a Panakhyda (prayers for the deceased) for them and for all our family and friends who have fallen asleep in the Lord.
Perhaps the images of Halloween and cemeteries got the best of me that week, leading up to this night. I don’t like scary movies and I definitely wasn’t looking forward to traipsing through a cemetery in the middle of the night! However, I was extremely surprised by the peaceful atmosphere we encountered as we wound our way through the gravestones. I couldn’t help thinking that all those who we prayed for that night would have been very happy to see us there and probably a little bit amused too!