By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
More than 200 people gathered under a tent at Calvary Cemetery for the annual All Souls’ Day Mass Nov. 2.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated the liturgy atop a hill in the priest’s section in the center of the cemetery. A cold wind steadily blew through the tent during the Mass, but a crowd that included children of all ages and elderly men and women gathered to do as the archbishop urged them: “to pray today for the faithful departed.”
“On All Souls’ Day, we really have three tasks,” he told his listeners during his homily.
“We have the task of remembering those who have died, not only our loved one, but also the soul who has no one to remember,” he said. “Whether someone is a person of faith or not, when we lose someone, we do search for ways to remember and not to forget.
“I think back to my mom and dad, to my sister Rose and brother Georgie. And you, I’m sure at this moment, are thinking about the loved ones in your own lives who have died. It is good and appropriate for us to pause and remember. We don’t want to forget.”
The second task of participation in the All Souls’ Day Mass, the archbishop said, is prayer — especially for those in purgatory and those for whom no one else is praying.
Prayer also brings the faithful closer to their deceased loved ones, he said.
The archbishop noted that when his sister Rose died in 1990, a priest told him, “ ‘You know, you’ll visit her grave and you’ll feel close to her. But remember, whenever you are part of the celebration of the holy Eucharist no place else on earth will you be closer to your loved one who has died.’ ”
Finally, the archbishop said, “This holy Mass is a testimony to a living and merciful God. And boy do we really need to hear and experience that gift of faith.”
At the opening of the liturgy, the archbishop also gave thanks for the staff and board of directors of Catholic Cemeteries whom, he said, offer great care and dignity to “the faithful departed.”
He also recognized the work of Deacon Bob Markert, who holds a special prayer service each month for infants who are still born or who lived any length of time. It is held on the last Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. in the Holy Infants section of Calvary Cemetery, 1600 Newburg Road.