NEW YORK – This spring, Holy Name Province is introducing a new program to assist with the burial of the forgotten dead.
Sponsored by Holy Name Province and administered by the Office of Development, “Remember Them” will contribute financially to the cost of the burial of a person – man or woman, infant or child – who died alone, without the means to pay for a funeral.
Expenses are rising for funeral homes that offer to bury the unclaimed dead. State or local governments will reimburse funeral homes for the cost of cremation or burial, but the payments are not keeping up with rising costs. Many governments have not budgeted for the burial of unclaimed bodies. In West Virginia, for example, nearly all of the money set aside for the burial of the unclaimed dead was anticipated to run out by the end of February because of drug overdose deaths, according to a Feb. 28 report by the Associated Press, leaving many of these bodies uncared for.
“Unfortunately, we have a need for this type of program today,” said David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the HNP Office of Development. “Forgotten in life and often forgotten in death, these are the babies, children, women and men whom the new program ‘Remember Them’ remembers in death. These are the ones who have no one to bury them.”
Through “Remember Them,” the Franciscan friars will contribute financially to the cost of the burial when requested by a Holy Name Province ministerial site. As part of the program, the Province requests that a dignified and proper funeral ceremony occur either before or at the gravesite to provide dignity to the deceased.
“Remember Them” is a non-denominational program that will assist in the burial of anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, lifestyle, or spiritual beliefs. Friars who would like to use the “Remember Them” program should contact the HNP Office of Development for assistance.
People who would like to support the cost of this ministry may do so by donating online or by mailing a check to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
“’Remember Them’ needs your financial support in order to carry out this corporal work of mercy to bury the forgotten dead,” said David, who has led the HNP Office of Development since 2011. “’Remember Them’ believes that even though these babies, children, women and men have been forgotten in life, the Franciscans will remember them in death.”
For more information about the various ways the Franciscan friars empower people to live with dignity and purpose, visit www.FriarWorks.org.
- “Shrine’s Ministry to the Forgotten Captures Media Attention” – Dec. 18, 2013, HNP Today
- “Friarworks: A New Way to Share the Franciscan Message” – June 22, 2016, HNP Today
- “Giving Hope to Kids Heading Back to School” – Aug. 30, 2017, HNP Today