Winter 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2004 |

The Penance Practicum

Father Dom was pleased with his reflection in the mirror. To the front of his cassock he had stapled a big dot cut out of white paper; below the cincture he had stapled two more. Tonight was the seminary's Halloween party. He was going as a domino. He was ready to enjoy himself, although the party was one of the things that had turned iffy around Saint Boniface. Some of the younger seminarians, shiny men of God who ran every five minutes to look something up in one of John Paul II's encyclicals, had raised objections: The proper end-of-October celebration for Catholics was the Feast of All Saints, not Halloween. "We'll celebrate the All Saints' Mass," Father Dom told the stern contingent who came to his office. "We always do. But the Halloween party is harmless. People like dressing up." "The magisterium has not approved Halloween as a holiday for the faithful," said Sipley. His beefy face, above the Roman collar he'd worn every day since taking his first vows, was impla

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Erin McGraw is the author of six books of fiction, most recently Better Food for a Better World: A Novel (Slant Books, 2013). Her stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Atlantic and many other journals. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, the poet Andrew Hudgins.

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