Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 16, 2002
Special Mass honours the dead
Young and old gather to pray for the 'departed'
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Holy Cross Cemetery came alive Sept. 8 as more than 2,000 Catholics gathered for a special Mass to honour the dead of the Edmonton Archdiocese.
Archbishop Thomas Collins and Msgr. Don MacDonald, vicar-general of the archdiocese, presided at the outdoor celebration behind the cemetery's mausoleum.
About 20 priests, seminarians and lay people assisted at the Mass, that Christians around the world normally celebrate on Nov. 2, All Souls Day.
The Edmonton celebration is held in September to avoid the cold November weather, explained the archbishop. "We are making a climatic shift here."
Some 220 volunteers helped create the celebration, including 80 young people who greeted the public and brought the gifts for the Mass.
"This is a holy time and a holy place and we today continue the long and ancient tradition of coming together in prayer for those who are the faithful departed," Collins told an overwhelmingly older congregation, many of whom have loved ones buried at a Catholic cemetery.
"As our brothers and sisters in the Lord have done for 2,000 years, we come here to the cemetery to pray for the repose of the soul of those who are buried here at the cemeteries in our whole archdiocese.
"We pray for those whom we love, those who have gone before us, who have fought the good fight here on earth and who are now before the Lord."
Added the archbishop: "As we pray for the faithful departed and as the great saints of heaven pray for us, we are bound together in a communion of saints. And that's what gives us our hope for the future and that's what gives us our life here on earth, this awareness of this communion, this family of faith gathered around the altar of the Lord."
Ray Swerda and his wife Kathy of Morinville attended the celebration to remember their daughter Debra, who died six years ago at age 33.
"It was an opportunity for us to reflect on her days here on earth," he said.
"It's a wonderful feeling to see so many people (praying for the departed). It was a very moving ceremony."
Katherine Schultz of Edmonton attended the Mass to remember her father Cyril Hergott, who died Dec. 8 1998, and a number of other relatives buried at Holy Cross.
"This really was a touching ceremony," the mother of two said.
"It's really touching to see so many people.
"I guess there were a number of young people, but unfortunately I think the majority were the older people. I hope our younger people will continue this tradition."