Mass of Remembrance 2019
The father was beaming. Looking at him as we spoke, one might have thought his son had just graduated from medical school with distinction. His son, in fact, had died at 11 years of age – just died, less than two months ago, following a protracted and agonizing battle with cancer. Speaking of the child they lost, the man and his wife wore expressions that were luminous and full of hope. They said over and over how grateful they were for the ministry of the monks who had provided, without charge, a casket for their little boy. What was happening at the moment I met them, was not the rehearsal of heartbreak but an affirmation and full-hearted celebration of their Christian faith. When we celebrate the Mass of Remembrance each year, this intimate encounter with grieving families happens again and again. They come from Texas, Maryland, Alabama – from all over the country to attend this mass offered for all person buried in a Trappist Casket or Urn. When we introduced the mass in 2016, we thought a handful of local families might wish to actually be present for it. 380 people showed up from all over the country, packing our church to capacity. The following year 620 people attended the mass, forcing us to erect an enormous tent in front of the monastery to accommodate them. This year, we had 725 people at the mass. Another surprise for us: the Memory Book, in which the names of every person buried in one of our caskets or urns is written, was displayed in church and guests, wishing to see the name of their loved one, formed a line that stretched to the back of the church and didn’t end until about 2:00 p.m. Nothing has so confirmed the divine and grace-filled work we do at Trappist Caskets more than this unique event. We thank God that a form of work so conducive to our enclosed and hidden way of life, allows us to touch and ministry to grieving families at a moment when they need it most.