Letter to Editor: Out of Touch Priest Cancels Halloween

South San Francisco, CA October 31, 2022 by Concerned SV Parents

Hello,

I think this is news our community should be aware of.
I am a parent at St. Veronica Catholic School in South San Francisco. Our current pastor, Fr. Patrick Driscoll, has cancelled Halloween and our students and community are suffering. In response to upset parents and students he had the principal, Mary Boland, send the attached letter to families. Proving just how out of touch he is.
Many parents fear this is just the beginning due to his past track record. I personally fear the school will close just like Star of the Sea (one of his previous schools) which closed due to these out of touch changes.
I hope you choose to share this information. Everything South City has always supported St. Veronica!
Thank you,
Concerned SV Parent
###

Praised be Jesus Christ!

 

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Responding to an invitation from Mrs. Boland to write to you I first want to assure you of my prayers for you and your wonderful families. Please pray for me.

 

Our Parish

 

The Church of Saint Veronica Parish and all of its apostolates/ministries (including our wonderful school) is first and foremost a community of Christian faith, the Catholic faith. As Christians, we know that we only exist because God created us –so we should we only exist for Him in the life that He has called us to live.

 

Everything about our parish community is to come from this gift of faith that we have been given. Even our campus and all its buildings were established in faith and paid for by those who preceded us. They did so out of their faith in Christ.

 

Faith in Jesus Christ then is indeed the only reason our parish and school exist. As a community we are to worship God, to grow in the knowledge and love of Him and to bring others to that knowledge. We are helped by all the angels and Saints especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Saint Veronica and our personal patron saint and guardian angel.

 

Saint Veronica School

Our parish is especially gifted with a great school and wonderful families who make use of it. Dedicated teachers. I so enjoy interacting with some of you after Sunday Mass or at a morning assembly or a sports event. This is something I often mention to fellow priests and my family.

 

Parents as the First Teachers of the Faith

We, as a Catholic parish, have a very big responsibility in helping you, the parents of the students in our school, to teach your children in the ways of faith. It is the only reason we have a school apostolate. Father Pollette (our Parochial Vicar) and I are proud of our students and we often enjoy their happiness and joy. They have become so devout at Mass! I boast of this all the time.

 

Please be assured that we are fully committed to providing for our school in its spiritual mission but also for its continued growth into the future. Our Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone shares this commitment and sent me and other priests in 2021 to a special conference on Catholic schools. It was very helpful.

 

Formation of Our Youth

We are most conscious of the reality that young people are very impressionable about life and faith. They often inspire me with their pure faith. Thank you God!

We guide and foster their faith by providing for them opportunities to grow in faith, hope and love. Most important is participation on Sundays (or Saturday night) at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Prayer, the sacraments, education and an emphasis on encouragement to participate in Christian observances are examples of ways that we strive to help safeguard and grow the faith in our young people (and our “not so young” too!).

 

The Feast of All Saints

One such opportunity is coming on November 1. It is the great Feast of All Saints on November 1. And then there is the Feast of All Souls on November 2 when we remember and pray for those who have died.

 

The saints lived lives of heroic virtue and remained close to God. They are in heaven now and they intercede for us. Let us celebrate their help and intercession!

 

The lives of the saints show us the holiness and happiness that can only come from being close to God. Their witness shows us that this is possible for everyone. I can happily tell you that we have some very holy students (and some very holy parents!).

 

History of All Saints Day Observance

This great feast has been observed and celebrated by Christians for more than 1,400 years! We are striving to re-embrace this feast here at Saint Veronica with a greater vibrancy. The practice of learning about and then dressing as a saint is being encouraged.

 

All Saints Day is so signifcant in our life of faith that it is a “Holy Day of Obligation” that, like Sunday, is a day we are bound to come and thank God for our blessings at Holy Mass (unless we are sick etc).

 

All Hallows Eve

Many will have heard of the title “All Hallows Eve”(Hallow here means holy). This title eventually contracted into “Halloween” All Hallows Eve was part of a three-day celebration beginning theday before All Saints Day and continuing through All Souls Day. It was very Christian and was set up as a counter to the pagan and dark observances of the time.

Sadly, the modern secular (non-religious) observance of Halloween has become largely represented by darkness, evil images, and fright. (Just look at all the decorations) It does not now represent anything related to Christianity.

 

As we form our young people in the life of faith we are striving to emphasize holiness and the light of Christ to shine forth from them as so well shown in the lives of the saints. It is for this reason we are continuing what was established last year and not sponsoring a school observance or a connection to of the secular event of Halloween.

Of course, families will make their decisions about secular observances for themselves in their homes.

 

In closing, I ask and encourage fervent and confident prayer for our community of faith to be more united in the practice and spreading of the faith. If you have been “away” at all step closer and join us on Sundays. Come on in! “The water is fine” 🙂 We have a great faith community here and we need your presence and participation. It can bring everyone great graces from God!

 

Please pray for me.

 

In Jesus and Mary,

Father Driscoll

Pastor, Church of Saint Veronica

South San Francisco

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Sylvia
Sylvia
25 days ago

If fr. Driscoll knew his Christian history, he would know that Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve originated when children would go door to door offering to pray for dead loved ones in exchange for sweet baked goods. Canceling Halloween is succumbing to all the secular, evil celebrations that have taken over mainstream society.

School Parent
School Parent
26 days ago

Hello South City, long time native here. It’s sad to see and hear Saint Veronica’s has taken a turn and not for the betterment of the children. There is a lot of talk going on regarding the current state of affairs at Saint Veronica’s. One needs to not look further than the closed Star of the Sea school to realize history is repeating itself at Saint Veronica’s. The festivities surrounding a once vibrant Parish/School at Saint Veronica’s have faded. The Festival is no more. Bingo nights gone. Car shows no where to be seen. Halloween parades canceled. The pandemic was hard enough on the families and their children. Including the Parish and School. But now there is talk about a possible upcoming school closure. Sale of the land by the Archdiocese. Father Driscoll has not brought this community together he has divided it. The only hope is that the community of South San Francisco unites to save a once vibrant Saint Veronica’s. Please get involved ask hard questions and post to social media if needed to raise awareness. It will be a very sad day if any of these thing come true.

Kind regards,
SSF Native and school parent

Concerned parent
Concerned parent
1 month ago

As a parent of a student at St Veronica I think it is important to also not that Fr Driscoll had been part of a guild meeting in September and was in board with a Halloween celebration, this was not a surprise or undercover celebration, this was planned, and on the school calendar. Someone, either the principal or fr Driscoll decided to cancel everything that was planned on the Thursday before Halloween. No one in charge had the courage to get in front of the kids and let them know things were now changed. They left that to the room parents to let the parent know and tell the kids. It is unfortunate that this may result in many families leaving the school and community. We all just want what’s best for our kids and community and we deserve better from our faith leader as well as school leadership.

Laurie
Laurie
1 month ago

Halloween is part of the fun of childhood! What a shame you choose to take it away from them. Children will still pray and go to church. Shall something be taken away, for no good reason, from you Father? Do you enjoy golf or chess?

I went to All Souls School over 70 years ago and no one felt it was wrong or unacceptable all this time.

Gina
Gina
1 month ago

So out of touch. I’m really sorry the parents have to deal with this. My kids went to All Souls and they always celebrated Halloween. It’s a day to have fun.