St. John Vianney Wreath Remembrance Project helps loved ones remember those who have passed
FORT KENT, Maine — A St. John Vianney Wreath Remembrance Project provided people an opportunity to honor their deceased loved ones while also raising funds for the parish churches.
The project was held in lieu of the annual harvest supper fundraisers usually held in the fall to support costs including heating and snow removal at the five parish churches. Some funds will also be contributed toward a parish project to build columbariums next spring.
The churches have foregone harvest supper fundraisers the past two years due to COVID-19 concerns inherent to large public gatherings.
“People purchased the remembrance wreaths for their loved ones,” St. John Vianney Parish office manager Gale Rioux said. “What prompted us even more is that so many people have lost loved ones to COVID and if they haven’t lost someone they know of a friend or so forth who did.”
The project sold 400 wreaths which were placed on graves at 10 parish cemeteries: St. Louis Cemetery in Fort Kent, St. Mary Cemetery in Eagle Lake, St. Joseph Old and St. Joseph New Cemeteries in Wallagrass, Holy Family Cemetery in Daigle, St. Charles Old and St. Charles New Cemeteries in St. Francis, St. John Evangelist Cemetery in St. John Plantation, Sacred Heart Cemetery in Soldier Pond and St. Paul Cemetery in Allagash.
Each wreath is fitted with a solar light at the top shining toward the sky, “toward heaven,” Rioux said.
“Throughout winter for anyone who drives by one of the cemeteries it will shed a light on everyone we’ve lost, in the past two years especially,” Rioux said.
The project is something the parish has considered for quite a few years, Rioux said.
“Father (Jean-Paul) Labrie felt this was a very worthwhile project to bring all the parishioners in the community together and that certainly showed with the outpouring of support and volunteers who came forth,” Rioux said.”They helped put bows on wreaths, assembled lights, put wreaths in the cemeteries — it was tremendous.”