By Tim Lilley
The Message editor
Father Gene Schroeder celebrated the Mass of the Resurrection in honor of All Souls Day on Nov 3 at St. Joseph Cemetery mausoleum on Evansville’s west side. Father Schroeder, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Vanderburgh County, also serves as president of St. Joseph Cemetery. During the Mass, he noted that more than 37,000 people are buried in the cemetery – dating to the 1840s.
Members of the Knights of St. John of St. Wendel Parish in St. Wendel served as honor guard for the Mass.
In his homily, Father Schroeder talked about the Communion of Saints, emphasizing that many people often fail to see that the saints are all around us. He used the example of a recent hearing test to illustrate his point. “Before that screening, I didn’t really think I had much of a hearing problem; but I did,” he said. “I was fitted with hearing aids, and they introduced me to a world of sounds I began hearing all around.
“It reminded me that the Communion of Saints is all around us. We often connect holiness with some level of perfection. But you and I are created in the image and likeness of God. What does it take for us to see what has always been there? That’s the big challenge for us.”
He encouraged the large crowd in attendance to go home from Mass and thank God, saying “I am beautiful and wonderfully made.” Father Schroeder added, “that will change how we see everything; how we relate (to others and to the world) and how we live.”
At the beginning of Mass, Father Schroeder read the names of the 255 people who were buried in St. Joseph Cemetery over the past year. They included priests of the Diocese of Evansville Father Kenneth Herr and Father Gordon Mann.
After reading the names, the faithful joined Father Schroeder in a prayer for All Souls. It concluded with:
“Go, faithful friends, we do not grudge your glory. With you, we believe that Christ will one day come for us all. With you we now celebrate that Jesus keeps his word.”