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Catholic Activity: Deaths in the Russian German Community


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The Russian Germans have a strong sense of solidarity in prayer when there is a death in their community.


When a person dies in any of the colonies it is customary to keep the Totenwacht, the wake. If the deceased is a man, the different men's organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, or the men of the Third Order of St. Francis, meet at the home and recite the rosary each evening until the funeral. If a .woman dies, the women of the Altar Society, or the Christian Mothers, do likewise. The rosary is recited every hour by different groups as long as the body of the deceased remains in the home. On the day of the funeral, the priest, vested in a black cope and accompanied by the altar boys, goes to the home where he blesses the corpse and recites prayers for the dead. After the Requiem Mass has been celebrated in church, the body is taken to the cemetery. En route, the people pray aloud together. Before leaving the cemetery, many visit the graves of their deceased relatives and friends. The deceased are remembered by many Masses; on the thirtieth day after death and on the yearly anniversaries Requiem High Masses are usually offered for the repose of their souls.

Activity Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994

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