You are the Light of Christ
Accompanied by the graceful music of a harp, in our beautiful annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony held in the Main Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery on Saturday, December 2nd, Deacon Jose Naranjo, Cemetery chaplain, retired, spoke to our families who lost loved ones this year. In his gentle and holy way, he spoke about the Nativity of Our Lord, about the Light of the Star which guided the Holy Family and the Three Kings and about the Light which is our Lord. He told them that the Light continues to burn within them even after loss. He inspired them, telling them that the Light of the Christmas tree and the angels they placed upon it in memory of their loved ones are a reminder of their faith journey; that they should be guided by the Light and be the Light for others.
Accompanied by our new cemetery chaplain, Deacon Jose Aleman, the ceremony included prayers and a reading from the Holy Gospel. The deacons then blessed the trees and those gathered with holy water before the trees were lit in a simple and moving candle ceremony.
After the blessing and lighting, families placed their angels on the tree. Notes were attached to each angel with the name of their loved one and any message the family wished to write. The trees will remain in place through Epiphany.
As part of the season of Advent, of giving and caring for others, each family was asked to bring non-perishable food items for the Annual Cemetery Food Drive. Donations will be taken to the Little Sisters of the Poor just before Christmas. There is still time to add your donation as you visit the ceremony.
This is the 7th year for this ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy. Another ceremony will be held this weekend at Our Lady Queen of Heaven in North Lauderdale for those with loved ones there. These lighting ceremonies have long been part of the tradition of Catholic Cemeteries throughout the United States and Canada. The staff of Catholic Cemeteries is honored to carry the tradition in Florida.
Our special thanks to Trudy Faust for the beautiful music for our ceremony and to Mr. Alfonso Calvo, a family member from St. Louis parish who provided the photography.
Please join us for the ceremony this weekend at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and for those who attended, we hope to see you again next year! May the Light of Christmas be with you throughout this holy season.