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Mass at Fairfax cemetery marks All Souls' Day

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Fifty-two of the diocese's deceased priests are buried at Fairfax Memorial Park Cemetery.

Perhaps it's only fitting, then, that a Mass commemorating All Souls' Day be celebrated at the cemetery.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, celebrated the Mass for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed on Saturday morning at Fairfax Memorial Park.

Hundreds attended the Mass, many of whom had lost loved ones within the past year.

"On this day, dear friends, there are many emotions," Bishop Burbidge said in his homily. "There's sadness and grief. There's also thanksgiving, gratitude and awareness of the invitation and challenges the Lord has given to us."

"As we remember our departed loved ones, there's sadness because we miss them. ... We miss them because we love them, and it is that love that allows us to commend them to the Lord, and the blessings that await them in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Shortly before the Mass concluded, Bishop Burbidge sprinkled holy water on the gravesites of the priests buried at the cemetery, all in a line adjacent to where Mass was being offered.

Bishop Burbidge ended his homily with words of hope for those in attendance.

"We must not only have heartfelt sentiments for our loved one — we must make sure that we honor them by imitating their faithfulness and goodness, as we strive daily to grow in holiness, so that, pray God, one day we are with them in Heaven, when every tear will be wiped away."

All Souls' Day is celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 2. In the Catholic tradition, it is a day set aside for honoring all the faithful departed.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019