No spooks at this Hallows Day event

By | October 21, 2009


Lyn Zahorik, director of worship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Oshkosh, adjusts a costume worn by Kristin Steffen. The costume will be worn by a volunteer portraying St. Elizabeth Ann Seton during the parish’s Hallowed House event Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Also pictured is Mia the dog, owned by Fr. Tom Reynebeau, pastor. Mia portrays the wolf of Gubbio, St. Francis of Assisi’s wolf. (Dick Meyer | For The Compass)

Tours will run at 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, but not on Halloween itself.

“Our reason is not to offer an alternative to Halloween,” said Lyn Zahorik, director of worship. “We’re not trying to run competition. We want to give the children a more enhanced experience. It’s to offer them a deeper understanding of where the celebration of Halloween came from to begin with – the whole concept of hallowing the saints. I want children to come away with an appreciation of these holy people who have lived before us, whom we’re trying to model our lives after and to give them the experience of having a good, fun time within a spiritual context.”

Zahorik said there will be six saints residing in the rectory. “The saints will be wearing authentic costumes and will be speaking to the children as the saint,” she said. The rectory’s ambiance will add to the experience. “It’s a beautiful old house with lots of rooms, winding staircases, decorated to be really pretty, not to be scary. Each room will be decorated to suit or enhance a particular saint.”

The saints featured at this first presentation of the Hallowed House will be:

• St. Francis of Assisi and the wolf of Gubbio, which he tamed. The wolf will be portrayed by Mia, “the church dog” of Most Blessed Sacrament and St. Jude parishes. Mia will be on a leash in case some children are nervous around dogs.

• St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a queen who helped the poor. She will be in a regal castle setting.

• St. Joseph, the carpenter, husband of the Blessed Mother.

• St. Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus. He will be in a silvery setting with little twinkle lights.

• St. Elizabeth Seton.

While not yet a saint, Mother Teresa will also be portrayed.

“We want the children to leave realizing that you can start living like a saint right now and living a good life,” Zahorik said about including Mother Teresa. “You don’t have to be canonized by the church.”

She said each saint will talk to the children for about five minutes, then the children will receive a holy card from the saint and a special treat. “For instance, St. Elizabeth Seton will be handing out little rulers saying ‘God loves you.’ Each treat will have some sort of spiritual message with it,” she said.

Lisa Dorschner will portray St. Elizabeth of Hungary; her husband, Jim, will portray St. Francis; and their daughter, Gloria, 12, will be an angel tour guide.

“I’m doing this to give children an opportunity to see how beautiful the lives of the saints are and to focus on those stories vs. the kinds of stories they might hear on Halloween,” Dorschner said. “They lived their lives faithfully and did remarkable things. I hope this gets a lot of children fired up about the lives of the saints.”

Describing her saint, Dorschner said Elizabeth was a princess “who really loved the Lord and did things for the poor. She embodied what our faith teaches. A lot of kids like the princess stories and the happy ending. Her happy ending was what she did for the poor. Her husband understood her, and I think it’s an incredible story kids need to hear.”

Joe Knudson, chairman of the worship committee, will portray St. Joseph the carpenter.

“He is the patron saint of people who work with their hands,” Knudson said. “My father was an electrician, so that was always an important part of our lives. I was always impressed by the fact that everything St. Joseph did was to obey God and follow God’s will in his life. That is a great example for all of us.”

Zahorik said volunteers are excited about the experience. “We’re working on begging and borrowing to put everything together. We’re just relying on everybody offering what they have.”

She said that the intent is to continue offering the Hallowed House each year with different saints each time. “We’re hoping to build our scenery and costumes in such a way so there are pieces that can be used year after year.”

Zahorik said the Hallowed House is open to any children but is most appropriate for those age 4 through fourth grade. While the house is not currently handicap accessible, parents are welcome to carry children through the house as necessary.

There is no charge, but reservations must be made as each tour is limited to 15 children because of the size of the rooms. Visitors are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item.

Reservations can be made by contacting Zahorik at [email protected] or at (920) 231-9782.

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