Hurricanes, Halloween and Saints Jump Start “Year of Faith”

As October ends and November is upon us, there has been no shortage of opportunity for Catholics to begin strengthening our faith muscles as the “Year of Faith” moves into full swing.

Today is Halloween, better known as the national holiday of candy. Little ghouls and goblins will likely be flooding the streets here in the Baltimore area, now that Hurricane Sandy has left town. She blew through with a force that hasn’t been seen here in quite some time, if ever. Last year, Hurricane Irene brought some nasty weather to be sure, but it seems Sandy had just as much sass in her, if not a little bit more.

Officially, I don’t know which was worse in terms of foul weather and damage to streets, property and infrastructure, but I do know that before, during and now after Sandy, the Heathcott family prayed for safety not only for ourselves, but for all in harm’s way. We wrote out a prayer and put it in our family prayer box on the dinner table, then prayed for all the prayers in our box before supper Monday evening.  

The pictures on the television yesterday and today showed the story of devastation in places in our beloved state, such as Ocean City, Baltimore, many city suburbs and places as far away as Garrett County in western Maryland. But as bad as we had it – and still have it – here, the pictures from New Jersey and New York City of Sandy’s damage were shocking and difficult to see. I am sure we will all continue to pray for the mercy and goodness of our God to give those in New Jersey and New York City the strength, courage and peace they need to get through this difficult time.  

Here in the Heathcott household, we were fortunate – unlike last summer during Hurricane Irene when we lost power for four days – we didn’t lose power. But nearly 300,000 Marylanders did lose power. Thankfully, many have gotten their power back thanks to BGE being better prepared for Sandy than Irene (that’s my personal assessment).

Our prayers go out to those who are still without power and those who are without basic necessities – also for those who suffered loss of property. It is during times such as these that we pray that faith will sustain those affected by Sandy, as Christian brothers and sisters come to their aid.

While my wife and I prayed for our family to be safe during the storm, our four-year-old son was mostly concerned about Halloween. “Dad, will Halloween be cancelled?” he asked.

“Don’t worry, buddy” I said. “I think you’ll be able to trick-or-treat.”

“Let’s pray that it won’t get cancelled!” he said.

Faith in action!

Finally, tomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints, a feast day in the Church and a holy day of mass obligation for Catholics. But just as important as the obligation to attend mass is the understanding of the immense faith that was lived out by the holy men and women who often gave their lives to proclaim Jesus as Lord. But they didn’t only proclaim their faith with their lips – they lived it out in their communities, often to become martyrs for what they believed. Sharing their faith, even at the risk death, was more important to the saints than their own well-being. The Church has lifted up these individuals as shining beacons of faith for us.

While we’re not called by Pope Benedict to be martyrs during this Year of Faith, we are being called to better learn and understand our Catholic faith, to be renewed in our understanding of Christ and his love for us and for our obligation to have our increased faith transform our lives so that we may share the truths of our faith in love to transform the lives of others.

Your family can access valuable resources to learn more about the Year of Faith, including tips for keeping Sundays holy and centered on family, prayers and devotionals for the family, and ideas for building the presence of the Church in the home, by visiting

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.