Wall of Remembrance
All that We Have: The Wall of Remembrance at Saint Andrew’s
Published on October 18-19, 2014 in the Parish Bulletin of Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
There used to be a Wall of Remembrance in the foyer of Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Lexington where they would hang up small wood crosses bearing the names of parishioners who had died in the past year. Sometime during my two years there as parochial vicar, the crosses were moved to a wall in their small Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
I recalled those memorial crosses one day while I was waiting for the bells to ring for daily Mass. There I was, outside the Chapel, looking at this big, blank, red-brick wall and I thought to myself that this could work as Saint Andrew’s very own Wall of Remembrance. It is accessible from our Church foyer and I imagined that having those crosses right on the wall before one entered the Chapel would serve as a visual reminder for the priest processing in to celebrate Mass and for the faithful coming in to pray to remember daily by name those who had died.
I asked Deacon Richard L. Abbey and W. Bryan Joyce to install nails on the mortar where the crosses could be hung. The crosses themselves, measuring five by five inches, were made from inexpensive pine wood, first by Deacon Abbey and later by Dustin W. Stewart. Their design is meant to reflect noble simplicity; they are easy enough to make yet nice enough to keep. (Those interested in helping to make these crosses for the bereaved of our parish may contact Deacon Abbey for the design.) I have been doing the calligraphy on the names written on each cross.
I had decided early on that we were going to have these memorial crosses not only for parishioners who had died in the past year, but also for the deceased family members of our parishioners. Thus, everyone has a place in our Church where one can come during the week and pray for someone dearly departed, whether that someone were buried close by or buried far away. I also had votive stands placed on both sides of the chapel entrance where people can light candles for their dead.
On this Wall of Remembrance and above the door to the Daily Mass Chapel is a wall frieze of the Blessed Mother holding the Child Jesus, with adoring angels flanking each side. It is a copy of a Renaissance lunette cast in resin that I have given to the parish. It is two feet tall and forty inches wide. Its high relief work on a gold background stands out from beneath a sheltering arch. This image of the Holy Mother of God who had stood by Her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, even on His death on the Cross, evokes the hope and prayer of every Catholic that she too might “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” (cf. Hail Mary).
The first memorial crosses were hung up on our Wall of Remembrance in February 2013. That November, I started what I hope to be an annual All Souls’ Day tradition for our parish of handing out these memorial crosses to those who had lost their loved ones in the past year to reassure them that there is always a place here at Saint Andrew’s where their grief is shared and their beloved dead are remembered and prayed for.