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Wave-4-Life Assist at a Special Funeral

On Monday, July 6, Prior Edward Seton Fittin ‘82 and the monastic community assisted the Wave-4-Life student group from Delbarton School to honor Helene Lens, a woman who recently passed away at Marion Manor without any family to handle burial arrangements. Robert Prout ’74, his son Steven Prout ’08, and daughter Julia Prout of Prout Funeral Home in Verona contributed their services and coordinated with Helene’s social worker at Marion Manor.

Helene Lens was originally from Belgium, where she witnessed the Nazi occupation of her country during the Second World War. After enduring Nazi persecution that resulted in the deaths of her father and brother, she immigrated to the United States. The funeral Mass was held in the Abbey Church, presided by Fr. Edward with Fr. Hilary O’Leary and Fr. Andrew Smith concelebrating. Students from the Wave-4-Life group volunteered as pallbearers and lectors for the mass. According to their mission, Wave-4-Life is “a team of dedicated students looking to promote a respect for life [which] is of immeasurable value from conception until natural death.” After the service, pallbearer Owen Hand ’21 said, “This funeral has helped me to weigh the significance of this life versus the significance of eternity. Confronting the fact that, one day, we will all pass away has helped me to see the importance of living each day in anticipation for our Judgement before God. This is something that I lose sight of very often, so today's service was a great reminder.”

In his homily, Fr. Edward expounded on the Christian belief that life is changed, not ended, at death, “To answer how the dead are raised, St. Paul proclaims the instant transformation of the resurrection changes not just our outward appearance, but the inner reality of who and what we are.” He later explained how belief in the Resurrection leads them to the funeral, “Today, our simple act of kindness for Helene, whom we’ve never met, matters!  It says we believe!  It says we love without condition.  It says Jesus’ victory over sin and death forever changes how we live and love.”

Following the funeral service, Fr. Edward presided at the interment service at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover. Please join the St. Mary’s Abbey and Delbarton community in praying for Helene Lens.