Did you know the Church believes that the veil separating earth from Purgatory becomes thinner and ghosts can be more readily seen at this time of year? It’s one of the reasons Halloween and All Souls Day are celebrated when they are. The chill of the weather and the increasing hours of darkness are tangible reminders of what life is like without Christ, the “Sun.” It fits in nicely with our understanding of the Body of Christ, the three states of the Church (the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant), and how we are all connected. It is also why the entire month of November is dedicated to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The veil is thinner, and thus we are a little bit closer to our deceased brothers and sisters who have yet to enter Heaven.
With this in mind, I was not surprised when my sister texted me yesterday morning and said my nephew had seen a ghost.
Babe’s in Spirit-Land
As she does every morning, Mary was dropping her kids off at Nana’s for the day. Desmond, her oldest, is two and a half and has started to speak in fuller sentences. Mary was guiding Desmond through their morning routine, when the toddler kept pointing at nothing and saying, “ghost.” According to Mary, he has said this word before as a ghost was a part of the Halloween episode of his favorite children’s show. Thus, Mary didn’t really think anything of it. She asked him if it was a good ghost or an angel, to which Desi replied, “Angel ghost. Poppa ghost.”
This startled Mary. Our paternal grandfather (Des’ great-grandfather for whom he is named) was called “Poppa” by his grandkids. He passed away a couple of years before Desmond was born. It goes without saying that Desmond never met him — and I don’t think any of us have ever talked to Desmond about his Poppa Stan.
Mary was a little taken aback, so much so that she texted the whole family about it. Though Des had spoken about ghosts before, this attempt at communicating was distinctly different. He really seemed like he was trying to tell his mom that “Poppa Ghost” was in the room. Desi continued to talk about Poppa Ghost’s presence throughout breakfast. He even offered the ghost some of his chocolate cheerios on multiple occasions.
Being Catholic, we couldn’t help but wonder if our Poppa Stan was reaching out to us, through his great-grandson, Desmond Stanley, asking for prayers…
The Saga Continued…
With all the speculating going on, Mary and Nana (my mom) were careful not to feed or influence what Desmond said. That being said, Nana was still curious (– we all were!). She took a framed picture off the bookshelf and showed it to Desmond. “Poppa Ghost!” he cried excitedly, pointing to the picture in my mom’s hand.
With that, Mary and my mom started to cry. The picture was one of the last one’s taken before Poppa Stan passed away, and we know for certain that Desmond had never seen it before.
What else could explain Desmond recognizing the man in the picture — a man he had never seen before — besides being able to also see him in the present moment as a ghost?
For a little while longer, Desmond continued his mission to tell people about what he saw. When his dad stopped by to drop off diapers, Desmond took his hand, led him to a specific spot and pointed saying, “Poppa Ghost.”
Then sadly, and without any prompting, while slurping down his squeezy yogurt, Desmond looked in the corner and reported, “Gone… Poppa gone!”
Just like that, Desmond’s insistence stopped just as abruptly as it had started.
Our faith teaches us that ghosts are real. And that souls in Purgatory have been known to return to earth asking for prayers and Masses to be said for the sake of their soul’s purification. Regardless of whether Poppa Stan was actually visible to Desmond or we simply made baby babble into more than it was, we’re all grateful for the reminder to pray deeply for our beloved patriarch we love dearly and miss often.
Pray for us Poppa! We’re praying for you!
Do you have any “ghost” stories of your own loved ones? Comment below!
And be sure to share the names of your deceased with us! We’ll pray for them all month!