News Detail
Scranton Prep Students Hold Services for the Forgotten, Bury the Dead

June 29, 2016 The newest ministry at Scranton Preparatory School in Pennsylvania reaches out to “the people on the margins, people kicked to the curb of society,” says president Jesuit Father Ryan Maher. The St. Joseph of Arimathea Funeral Ministry holds funerals for the forgotten.

The program was founded in the spirit of St. Joseph of Arimathea, who assisted with the burial of Jesus, in an effort to live out the Jesuit motto of being men and women for others. Scranton Prep’s ministry is based on similar programs at other Jesuit high schools, including Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. The program’s philosophy is that no one should die without being mourned or prayed for. The service also carries out a corporal work of mercy: bury the dead.

Students who take part in the program act as pallbearers, hold prayer services and offer scripture readings to those who are indigent or die alone. Last month, 30 students led by Fr. Maher, held the program’s first prayer service for 12 people whose remains were unclaimed from the Lackawana County coroner’s office.

Students only knew the names and death dates of the people whose cremated remains they placed solemnly on the altar with a rose. Faculty members joined in singing hymns and saying prayers as students acted as lectors for the service.

Fr. Maher, noticing some apprehension among the students, said, “Everyone take a deep breath. For the next 45 minutes, just be human. You are doing a basic good by remembering these people who died unremembered and unmourned. The Holy Spirit will meet us halfway.”

After the prayer service in the chapel, the remains were taken to St. Catherine’s Cemetery Mausoleum in Moscow, Pennsylvania, where space was donated by the Diocese of Scranton.

“These 12 people were called into life out of the love of God and they died alone and unremembered,” Fr. Maher said. “We know that is not right. We know that we are all connected ... We don’t know much about them, but we knew they were human, and like us, they lived lives of joy, sadness, suffering, pain, discord, triumph and defeat. We don’t know their faith, but it is with confidence and hope they understand that we do this out of respect for them.”

 [Source: The Times Tribune]





Recent News

October 17, 2018 — On October 14, Pope Francis canonized a pope and a martyr: Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, El Salvador.

October 15, 2018 — Prevain Devendran was selected to be a collaborator at the 2018 Synod of Bishops.

October 12, 2018 — On this day in 1963, U.S. Jesuit Father Walter Ciszek arrived in New York after 23 years in Russia in Siberian labor camps and Soviet prisons.

October 5, 2018 — Known as "The Magis," the guesthouse provides a place where Jesuits and other religious can recharge.

October 4, 2018 — Pope Francis asked bishops to be bold, honest, open-minded, charitable and, especially, prayerful as they begin the three-week meeting.

October 3, 2018 — Today the Society of Jesus celebrates the feast of St. Francis Borgia, SJ (1510-1572), the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

October 2, 2018 — This summer, several Jesuits were ordained to the priesthood at Masses in Puerto Rico and Haiti.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/15/18

America 10/1/18

America 9/17/18



Charis Ministries
Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s throughout the country, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality.