The program titled “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes,” honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces and recognizes both military veterans and active-duty military personnel serving our country.

Attending Mass at one of several archdiocesan cemeteries on Memorial Day is an annual tradition for many New Jersey Catholics, but this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be one Mass celebrated online.

“We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who lost loved ones during this time of pandemic and extend a thank you to the First Responders, Front Line Responders, and Last Responders,” said Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark. “Let us never forget the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women. May they rest in peace.” 

For decades, the coordination of Memorial Day Masses concelebrated by Archdiocesan clergy for thousands of attendees at six cemeteries across Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties has been a labor of love and faith. While the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Archdiocese to celebrate Mass virtually this year, Schafer extends his heartfelt gratitude to Cardinal Tobin, who celebrates Memorial Day Mass with the Archdiocese for the fourth year in a row.

After the Mass, while maintaining social distancing and wearing a face mask, Cardinal Tobin spoke with and blessed laborers from Local 74, as well as the foremen and office staff at Holy Cross Cemetery.

“We are blessed by his presence and by his leadership and loving guidance of our flock,” Schafer added.

The “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes” is a national program developed by the Catholic Cemetery Conference to honor members of the military who died in combat and recognize veterans and current servicemen and women.

Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark proudly honors and cherishes our fallen heroes and veterans, and remembers them throughout the year during monthly Masses, Veteran’s Day, Flag Day, and Memorial Day. Flags fly daily in designated areas overall Archdiocesan Cemeteries to honor those presently serving and those who have served. 

Additionally, more than one thousand American flags are placed at the memorials of veterans interred at our Catholic Cemeteries for Memorial Day, and those flags remain through Flag Day.   

The caring and dedicated staff at Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark ministers to the spiritual needs of individuals and families before, at the time of, and after the loss of a loved one. This includes caring assistance with cemetery planning before death, compassionate support at the time of loss, facilitating a loved one’s interment in a holy place, support throughout bereavement, and perpetual cemetery care, thereafter.

About the Archdiocese of Newark
The Archdiocese of Newark serves approximately 1.3 million Catholics in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark.  The Archdiocese encompasses 212 parishes and 92 schools, and employs more than 3,700 people, including priests, religious, and lay members, with over 500 of those employees located at the Archdiocesan Center.

About Catholic Cemeteries

The Archdiocese of Newark operates 10 Catholic cemeteries vital to the Catholic community for more than 160 years. Over one million faithful are interred in its cemeteries, and daily care is provided for each holy place and the entirety of each cemetery, perpetually. Catholic Cemeteries recognizes the deep religious significance of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy involved in the burial of and prayers for a loved one and the sanctity of the Order of Christian Funerals. For more information, go to

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