Bishop Anthony B. Taylor celebrated the commemoration of all the faithful departed at the annual All Souls Day Mass Nov. 2 at Calvary Cemetery in Little Rock. During his homily, Bishop Taylor talked about the fickle nature of death and shared his grief of losing his brother, Michael, who died March 15 due to a fungal infection in his lungs after a two-and-a-half-year struggle with leukemia.
“Some of our losses are loved ones who lived a long time, losses that came at a time when everyone could see clearly that the time had come -- the person’s mind and body all used up,” he said. “Others of our losses come suddenly and when we least expect it, the kind of death that we are warned always to be prepared for, yet never really are. The Lord uses our times of loss to draw us closer to himself as a source of strength and comfort and wisdom as we prepare to face the future without the departed loved one.”
He said he leans on and recommends Psalm 23 when dealing with grief.
“It is obvious that this psalmist felt closer to God in the dark valley than in the green pastures,” he said. “And it is always that way. For our loved ones, ‘the strife is o’er and the battle done,’ and we pray that they may now be in those green pastures on the other side of death. And now it is us who remain who still experience that dark valley of grief and loss. But as our Psalm insists, the shepherd has not forgotten his sheep. He’s here with us every step of the way.”
Bishop Taylor concelebrated the Mass with Father Joseph L. de Orbegozo, administrator of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock; and Father Stephen Elser, pastor of St. Paul Church in Pocahontas as well as Engelberg and Corning. Deacon Tim Costello of Immaculate Heart of Mary in North Little Rock (Marche) assisted.
Liz Tingquist, diocesan director of youth and campus ministry, served as lector, and seminarians Jackson Nichols, Pedro Alvarez and James Freeman were altar servers. Pianist Beau Baldwin and cantor Alisa Dixon provided music for the event.
Because of continued COVID-19 restrictions, the Mass was held near the cemetery office building to allow for social distancing. After the Mass, Bishop Taylor led a rosary procession through the cemetery to bless the graves.
In advance of All Souls’ Day, 27 parishioners from the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock and St. Patrick Church in North Little Rock came together for a day of service to clean the headstones of the Sisters of Mercy and others in the area at the cemetery Oct. 16. Father de Orbegozo and St. Patrick pastor Father Jack Vu also cleaned the diocesan cemetery.
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