Diocesan News

Diocesan Cemeteries Host Memorial Day Field Masses

oldtimer walks through cemetery

A Memorial Day Field Mass was held May 29 at Holy Cross Cemetery, East Flatbush. Auxiliary Bishop James Massa was the main celebrant.

“Welcome to the second oldest cemetery in Brooklyn,” said Bishop Massa. “The first burial took place in 1849, so we have Civil War veterans and families that suffered during that time.

“This place goes back when this was only known as the town of Flatbush. Then there was the Irish Famine that caused so many people to come to New York City but they suffered greatly when they were here and so many died and are buried here in Holy Cross.

“Gil Hodges, a few governors, a mayor, and even some who fell foul of the law are buried here as well. The humble next to the famous all rest here.

“When Queen Elizabeth II visited New York after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 she said something that has stayed with me, ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’ Meaning if we experience great pain and sadness when we lose someone that should make us happy in a sense because it means that we had someone we loved so intensely.

“Jesus says blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth. But meek does not mean weakness. Meekness is humility, gentleness, and trustworthiness. The meek put their trust in God and had the strong faith that brought them happiness,” he said.

Roberto Romano of Our Lady of Peace parish, in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, said, “I pray of course for the veterans especially on this day and thank those currently serving. For me though, my grandfather was a cemetery worker here at Holy Cross and this day was always very important to him. I remember even as a young child visiting him at work and praying the rosary. He taught me to always respect those that have passed, so it is part of my family tradition.

“My mother and grandmother were also catechism teachers and now that they have all passed. I feel a great connection to them here.”

Field Masses also were celebrated in other cemeteries conducted by the Catholic Cemeteries Office: St. John’s, Middle Village; Mount St. Mary, Flushing; St. Mary Star of the Sea, Lawrence, L.I.; St. Charles/Resurrection, Farmingdale, L.I.; and Most Holy Trinity, Bushwick.