Bishop Anthony B. Taylor celebrated the annual outdoor All Souls’ Day Mass Nov. 2 at Calvary Cemetery in Little Rock for a physically distanced and masked congregation of about 80. The Mass was moved from its usual location near the crucifix to a space near the cemetery office building for more distancing.
Bishop Taylor concelebrated the Mass with rector Father Jack Vu and associate pastor Father Aby Abraham, IMS, of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock. Deacon John Hall of Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church in Little Rock also served, along with lector Liz Tingquist, diocesan director of youth and campus ministry, with seminarians Jonathan Semmler, Sam Stengel and James Freeman as altar servers.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions for distancing, Bishop Taylor led a rosary procession around the cemetery to bless the graves with only priests, seminarians and deacon, while Sister Mary Clare Bezner, OSB, diocesan minister for religious, led the faithful in a rosary from their seats.
During his homily, the bishop pointed to his chasuble, with the phrase “Merciful like the Father” in Polish from the Divine Mercy shrine in Poland, saying, “Mercy is what Jesus came for and for us to share in his glory. So, you and I are gathered here today ... to pray for our loved ones, for all the people that are buried in the cemetery and also our loved ones who may be buried in some other place, asking for the Lord’s mercy for them. And asking that when our time comes, that there’ll be people praying for us too. I could certainly use it. And so today we express our confidence in the redemption won for us in Jesus, and we lift up our prayers for those who have died.”
Father Vu and parishioners and youth from St. Patrick Church in North Little Rock and the Cathedral visited Calvary Cemetery Oct. 31 to help clean the Sisters of Mercy headstones. Sister Mary Rose Vu, FMSR, director of religious education at both parishes, said the children had a meaningful day praying for the souls while cleaning the headstones. Thao Nguyen and her four children also cleaned the children’s garden.
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