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Deans' Note October 24, 2021

Over the past several years Halloween has become a big holiday, at least in Southern California. It's also become a holiday celebrated by adults as much as children. Sociologists and psychologists have explored why this is happening (just google: "Why Halloween has become so popular?") One thought is that it has to do with identity exploration - "Who am I and who will I become?" Could that be a roundabout way of asking the big questions about our mortality?

Whatever the reason, late October and early November is a time when many cultures celebrate a connection to the dead. One of the most well known is Samhain (sow-in) celebrated in pre-Christian Celtic areas such as Ireland. At this turning of the year, when summer and the harvest was giving way to darker days and the winter ahead, the veil between this world and the next was thought to be thin. This celebration of remembering the dead was incorporated into the Christian celebration of the saints and our communion with them. Similarly, the Latin American celebration of Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead is rooted in the traditions of indigenous peoples before Christianity.

We too incorporate these traditions into our celebrations at St. John's, this year on Sunday November 7, as we remember all the saints including our beloved dead and realize that in the communion of saints we are united with them. As has been our tradition, we invite you to bring photos or mementos to place on the altar.

This year we will add a new celebration on the day before Halloween, the evening of October 30, inviting all our neighbors to St. John's for a children's celebration. Trick or treaters will be welcomed to get some treats and enter the cathedral where they will experience some "scary" organ music. We particularly thank sexton Ada Galindo and Kelsey Delgado, our communications consultant for thinking of and implementing this wonderful idea.

This is one way we can engage our neighborhood and culture. As we do so, we have another opportunity to open our doors not only for a community event, but to invite those around us to come and see who we are, and maybe invite them to engage more deeply in the questions that matter deeply to people -- at their heart the spiritual question about who we are and where we're headed.