K. of C.'s Keep Decoration Day
Military Mass in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Morning.
Fourth Degree Exemplified in the Afternoon
Banquet in the Evening
Despite the threatening weather and a sprinkle of rain, about 3,000 persons assembled at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Decoration Day for the Military Mass at 10 o’clock. An altar had been erected near the southeast corner of the cemetery. A male choir of thirty voices under the direction of Grant Miller, sang the Requiem Gregorian chant.
Because of the threatening rain, arrangements were at first misunderstood and may persons went to St. Cecilia’s Cathedral where it was announced that the services would be held in case of inclement weather, but they immediately went back to the cemetery.
As nearly as possible the original plans were carried out. Rev. John F. McCormick S. J., president of Creighton University, was celebrant of the Mass. Rev. Peter C. Gannon, decon; Rev. Stephen L. Dowd, subdeacon; and Rev. James W. Stenson, master of ceremonies.
Sermon by Father Chapoton
Rev. Joseph A. Chapoton, CSsR Pastor of the Holy Name parish, delivered the sermon of the day following the completion of the Requiem Solemn Mass.
Father Chapoton told of the hope of immortality that is held out to the living while he extolled the memory of the soldier dead. He said in part: “This is the day a nation like ours sets aside that it may commemorate the dead who lay down their lives that we might live. A grateful nation passes by monuments and statues proudly reared to glorify historic names and goes to the grave where the bodies of its brave ones lie. Statues and monuments appeal to our senses—the grave to our hearts. The nation on this memorial day commemorates not only the deeds of the leaders and generals but honors the memory of the private soldiers and sailors as well.
Ceremony to Inspire the Living
We scatter not these flowers upon their graves in the vain hope that these will render their sleep more peaceful, but rather to inspire the living to nobler and better lives. No monuments, no flowers, no honors, no praise can reach that far off mysterious land to which the sprits of the dead have gone, but the living are taught the lesson of immortality.
We all, it is true, must look forward to the grave, but at it we see the gate into the land of immortality. We morn our dead but with the hope of God and future happiness. In vain do we gather around the graves and honor the ashes if there is no immortality. In vain do we strew the fairest blossoms upon the mounds of earth if the souls of men live not beyond the tomb. This very ceremony today tells of a nation’s belief in man’s future existence and so we maintain that in the hearts of every man there is deep seated natural belief that the soul does not die and that when it is released from its earthly prison, it returns to God from Whom it has received the gift of immortality.”
We Live Beyond the Tomb.
“Is it dust and ashes alone that has the power to claim our affections? Is it dust and ashes alone that can command our fondest respect? No, it is because there comes from the graves a voice which says, we live beyond the tomb.”
In conclusion he said: “May we bring the light of God’s law to guide us in private as well as in public life. Love God and keep his law in the days that are to come to our dear land: in peace or in war in every trial of a nations life our faith its shield shall ever be and our brightest hope of victory to know that if God is with us no foe can prevail against us.”
The Last Absolution.
Following Father Chapoton’s sermon the procession headed by the American Legion band and a firing squad proceeded to the brow of the hill where the rite of last absolution was performed over a solder’s grave, at the conclusion of which taps were sounded by a bugler and three volleys were fired over the grave. The Legion band played the national anthem at the conclusion of the ceremony.
The Omaha Assembly, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus had charge of the preparation for the ceremony, which was held in Omaha only once before, fifteen years ago. The entire program of the day was under the direction of Rev. F. G. Dineen, S. J. pastor of St. John parish who headed a committee appointed by the Knights of Columbus with J. J. Hinchey as the lay chairman. J. W. Dudley representing the American Legion, was in charge of the military ceremonies.
Fourth Degree Exemplification
In the afternoon a class of 121 Knights of Columbus received the Fourth Degree of the order at the Knights of Columbus hall on Harney Street (2301). Judge George F. Corcoran of York, master of the Fourth Degree for the Nebraska district, was in charge, assisted by Messrs. John Rush, F. P. Matthews, W. C. Fraser, Amos Henely, W.E. Straub, Rev. F.G. Dineen, S. J. and J. M. Nachtigall. The exemplification was pronounced by Vice Supreme Master of the Fourth Degree, Thomas P. Flynn of Chicago, who was present to be the best he had ever witnessed anywhere, and he publicly complimented the members of the team for their splendid work.
At the Fontenelle Hotel at 7 o’clock 250 Fourth Degree Knights and their ladies sat down to dinner in the large banquet hall on the second floor. Following the discussion of the menu, Judge Corcoran acting as toastmaster introduced the speakers of the evening. Those who responded to toasts were:
State Deputy Wm. J. McNichols, of Lexington, “Knighthood in Nebraska”. William C. Fraser, of Omaha, “The Permanent Home Movement.” Vice Supreme Master Thomas P. Flynn, of Chicago, “Our Order and Its Work.” Hon. James C. O’Brien, F.N., LaSalle Assembly of Chicago, “The Fourth Degree.”
Mr. O’Brien’s address was an eloquent exposition of the principals and ideals of the Fourth Degree. He sounded the call for a more active patriotism in America in which Catholic men and particularly Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus must do their full share in preserving the liberties and ideals of America.
After the banquet the hall was cleared and the Knights and their ladies enjoyed a dance until near midnight.
The day was one long to be remembered in Knights of Columbus circles in Nebraska.