Because We Are Catholic: High School Students Serve as Pallbearers for Those in Need

Members of the pallbearer ministry at Berks Catholic include, left to right, Diego Marmolejos, Marcos Mingucha, Rachel Kostival, Stephen Brennan and Andrew Gordos.

A group of Berks Catholic High School students has found a unique way to live their Catholic faith by providing service to others: acting as pallbearers at funerals.

“This is our way of fulfilling the Corporal Work of Mercy of burying the dead,” said junior Stephen Brennan, the group’s founder. The ministry was started this year.

The students are available to carry the casket for anyone in the community if there are no friends and family who can do so. They also are available to serve at funerals of the poor or homeless.

So far, they have been pallbearers at one funeral, that of Msgr. Dennis Hartgen, pastor emeritus of Holy Guardian Angels, Reading. They are trying to get the word out about their new ministry through funeral homes and word of mouth.

“It’s a great honor to help people in their time of need,” said senior Rachel Kostival. “This is our own way of assisting the family to get through their loss,” adds senior Diego Marmolejos.

Marcos Mingucha, a senior, sums it up this way: “We find great joy in providing this service for others. For me, personally, doing this helps me lead a better Christian life.”

“Because We Are Catholic” tells the stories of how the people of the Diocese of Allentown make a difference in the lives of others, bringing the Light of Christ to each other and to our community.