When John T. Fitzmaurice, a homeless veteran, passed away while living on the streets, he had no friends or living family members to attend his burial service. But instead of allowing him to be buried alone, members of Catholic Memorial high school, with help from an area funeral home and local ministry, decided to give him a proper send off.
The Boston, Massachusetts high school planned a funeral for Fitzmaurice, an Army veteran, including a mass with full military honors.
A large portion of the Catholic Memorial’s students either participated or attended the service, paying their respects to the military veteran even though they did not know him well.
“We have a lot of veterans in my family,” said Will Padden, the senior class president, “so I know the sacrifice he made for the country and I know the service he committed in the years he committed to serving our country.”
The mass was led by Rev. Chris Palladino, who also delivered the eulogy, according to a report by Fox News.
“For us, paying homage to a veteran, to bring him to our campus, to provide the burial rights he deserves, and to honor his legacy and to help our boys realize we have to stand with those who are marginalized,” said Peter Folan, the president of Catholic Memorial high school.
After the mass, a group of Catholic Memorial seniors lifted Fitzmaurice’s casket, which was draped in an American flag, and took it to the US Army hearse that was waiting nearby to take the veteran to his final resting place. Taps was playing in the background as they proceeded.
“John, in this case, needed a family,” said Padden, “and we were there to be John’s family.”