The History of the Jack-o-Lantern

In case you were wondering, Halloween (or “Hallows Eve”… the evening before All Hallows Day… or, All Saints now as it’s more commonly known) is an unofficial Catholic holiday to remember the reality of hell and to focus on how to avoid it (“in inferno nulla est redemptio”).

Jack-o-Lanterns were originally made from turnips. It was the Irish Catholics who spun a tale about a miserly man named Jack (known as “Stingy Jack”). He was a drunk, and he was a trickster who loved to make mischief on even his family and friends. One day Jack tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree and then carved Crosses into the trunk of the tree so the devil couldn’t get down. Jack bargained with the evil one, saying he would only remove the Crosses if the devil promised not to take his soul to hell. The devil agreed and Jack let him down. When Jack died, after so many years of vice, he appeared before the Pearly Gates of Heaven but was told by Saint Peter that he was too miserable a creature to see the face of Almighty God. But neither could the devil take his soul to hell, so Jack was doomed to wander the darkness on earth. Jack asked for something to at least light the way, and so the devil threw Jack an ember from the burning pits which Jack placed into a hollowed out turnip and carried with him. He became known as Jack of the Lantern (Jack-o-Lantern). Thus, on Hallows Eve (Halloween), the Irish would dress up in scary costumes to chase away evil spirits, and put out carved turnip lanterns to keep Stingy Jack away. When the Irish immigrated to America where turnips were not readily available, they used pumpkins instead.


Is that the best you can do!?!

It’s going to take more than a few flat tires to keep me from praying outside an abortion clinic.

“Get thee behind me, Satan!”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Sorry for the poor picture… I used my cell phone (oh, the wonders of modern technology!)


Bishop Athanasius Schneider, awesome bishop of the Catholic Church, author of the amazing DOMINUS EST! – It is the Lord! visited my parish this past week for a day of reflection on Eucharistic Miracles. It was a free event that began with Mass–my first experience of an ad orientem (the priest faced the altar) Novus Ordo liturgy with lots of Latin… if all Novus Ordo Masses were celebrated like that I think our churches would be filled! Mass was followed by a talk and Q&A session with Bishop Schneider, and there was a “Eucharistic Mysteries” touring exhibit from the Vatican (pictures, stories, etc. of Eucharistic miracles throughout the life of the Church… it was inspiring to see so many!) on display throughout the day, as well as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity to go to Confession in the afternoon.

Having read Bishop’s Schneider’s DOMINUS EST! – It is the Lord!, it was a privilege to hear him defend the sacredness of the Eucharist in person; Bishop Schneider is soft-spoken but speaks with conviction when he speaks of Holy Communion. And he is spot on when he calls for a return to receiving the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling… imagine the renewed sense of reverence and awe that would permeate the congregation! Instead of the Sacred Host being passed out (“distributed”… what a harsh word for Our Lord!) like candy on Halloween, the most Sacred Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ would lovingly and carefully be placed on the kneeling communicant’s tongue to ensure not even the smallest particle would be lost! The fact that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has been providing this example during his papal liturgies is an encouraging sign!

Kudos to Bishop Sample

It’s amazing and awesome to see a Bishop with some guts! The Church needs more Bishops like Bishop Sample! (and less dissenters like Bishop Gumbleton! … pray for his piteous soul!)

From the website for the Diocese of Marquette:

“I attempted to handle this matter in a private, respectful and fraternal manner with Bishop Gumbleton. It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption.

I want to first of all say that my decision to ask Bishop Gumbleton not to come to Marquette had absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak, Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice, nor with the topic of his publicized speech, since the Church is a strong advocate of peace and justice. I am sorry for the negative impact this has had on those planning this event.

There is a common courtesy usually observed between bishops whereby when one bishop wishes to enter into another bishop’s diocese to minister or make a public speech or appearance, he informs the local bishop ahead of time and seeks his approval. Only on October 9 did I receive any communication from Bishop Gumbleton, after this situation had already become public.

As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility.

I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion. In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines.

I offer my prayers for Bishop Gumbleton and for all those who have been negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”