Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama celebrated a Mass for the faithful departed Nov. 2 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Newton Grove. The Mass was concelebrated by more than 16 priests and attended by approximately 100 faithful, including students from Cardinal Gibbons High School and Saint Thomas More Academy, whose choir lent their voices to the service.
Under bright sun and blue skies, the clergy, sisters, deacons, laity and students processed to an outdoor altar in the parish cemetery where Mass was celebrated. The liturgy commemorated those who have died, especially deceased bishops and priests.
The large cemetery sits behind Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and is surrounded by peaceful, bucolic farm fields. Notably, Bishop Vincent S. Waters, Bishop F. Joseph Gossman and 15 priests are buried here. Also interred is John C. Monk, a physician who was instrumental in founding Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish shortly after the U.S. Civil War.
Bishop Zarama’s homily spoke to the significance of holding this Mass on All Souls Day and the deep meaning this day holds in Latin culture, as well as the very personal meaning it held for him and his family.
The high school students were visibly moved by his personal memory of visiting the graves of family and ancestors in his childhood. The bishop recalled with evident emotion how his grandfather always brought flowers to be placed on the graves of family members, with an extra bouquet to be left at the grave of an unknown person who appeared to have been forgotten.
Following the Mass, Bishop Zarama and clergy visited and blessed the gravestones of Bishop Waters and Bishop Gossman, as well as the graves of those priests and others buried in the cemetery of Our Lady of Guadalupe.