Diocese hosts Memorial Mass at Calvary Cemetery on May 31
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
June 3, 2004
More than 300 people were on hand for the Memorial Day Mass at Calvary
Cemetery in Sioux City.
The outdoor liturgy was celebrated by Msgr. Richard Zenk, director of the
cemetery. A tent was set up for the celebration near the graves of the deceased
bishops of the Diocese of Sioux City.
He pointed out that this was one of the largest crowds for the Mass in recent
"We gather here this morning to remember and to pray for all those who
have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy in this country and also to
remember and to pray for all of our deceased family members, relatives and
friends who have gone before us," he said in his homily. "This is
surely to be a special place for prayer, for remembrance and for peaceful
reflection on the purpose of our lives on earth."
Msgr. Zenk informed those gathered about the value of Catholic cemeteries,
stating that Calvary Cemetery was established to provide a fitting resting place
for departed brothers and sisters and to provide "blessed space" for
prayer and peace where those who mourn can find comfort.
He told them that through the Catechism of the Catholic Church they are
taught that those who perfectly purified and die in God's grace and friendship
enter heaven immediately.
"We are also taught in the same Catechism that those who die in God's
grace and friendship - but are not perfectly purified from all satin of sin and
its effects - stand in need of purification before they can enter the joys of
heaven. This period of purification is called purgatory," explained Msgr.
Zenk. "We believe as Catholics that we can assist these departed brothers
and sisters in purgatory by our prayers, sacrifices and Masses for their
intentions. And this we do this morning - at this Mass - for the souls in
Kelly Blessing of Wakefield, Neb. went to the Mass with her two sons and
parents. She pointed out that attending the Memorial Mass has been a family
tradition since she was a child.
"We have relatives here and it is a nice time to come and have Mass
outside," she said.
Lorraine Beacom, a parishioner at St. Michael Church in Sioux City, has also
been attending the Mass for many years.
"It's our way of thanking the Lord that the servicemen brought freedom
to us," she said. "I have many, many relatives out there and many of
those were servicemen. My husband served in WWII and I am grateful that he was
able to come back home."
In the 30 years that Dan and Mary Huwaldt of Tekamah, Neb., have been
married, they have only missed this Mass at Calvary Cemetery a couple of times.
She had been a Kennedy and was a native of Sioux City. They have a son buried at
Calvary, and her parents and grandparents are buried there.
"We try to make this every year because we just love it," said
Her husband described it as a pilgrimage of sorts and said it was "a