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Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery holds annual tree lighting

Deacon Jose Naranjo blesses a Christmas tree during a lighting ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral.

Photographer: Alfonso Calvo

Deacon Jose Naranjo blesses a Christmas tree during a lighting ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral.

DORAL | Some 300 people attended the seventh annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Saturday, Dec. 2, at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery, 11411 N.W. 25th St. Held in the main chapel, the event featured a talk by Deacon Jose Naranjo, retired cemetery chaplain.

He told his listeners that the light of the Christmas tree, and the angels they placed upon it in memory of their loved ones, were a reminder of their faith journey: that they should be guided by the light and be the light for others. 

Harpist Trudy Faust provides music at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral.

Photographer:

Harpist Trudy Faust provides music at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral.

Accompanied by the new cemetery chaplain, Deacon Jose Aleman, the ceremony included prayers and a reading from the gospel. The deacons then blessed the trees and those gathered with holy water before the trees were lit in a candle ceremony. 

Families then placed their angels on the tree, with notes attached with the name of their loved one and any message the families 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. More than 80 pounds was collected, estimated Mary Jo Frick, executive director of Catholic cemeteries for the archdiocese. She added that the food will be donated to the Little Sisters of the Poor just before Christmas.

A similar ceremony is set for tomorrow, Dec. 8, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1500 S. State Road 7, North Lauderdale. Mass is scheduled for 9 a.m., with the tree lighting at 10. Saying Mass will be Father Adam Forno, chaplain of Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. That event will likewise feature a charitable food drive.

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