The Catholic high school that holds funerals for homeless veterans

Student at Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury, Mass., serve at the funeral service for U.S. Army Veteran Timothy Fowl in January 2019 (Photo provided by author)

I am greeted by a wooden casket hoisted on the shoulders of eight high school basketball players as I enter the lobby of Catholic Memorial School in early January. An American flag covers the casket. At 8 a.m., I expect a tired expression across the face of each young man and wonder how they will navigate the halls to the narrow chapel.

But, stoic and calm, the boys looked at ease. They walked tall, proud and sure-footed. Their composure surprised me as they made their way into the school chapel. Following the procession, I scanned the room to find an open seat. But the school’s theology classes packed every pew.

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