Church members filled service to an 80-year-old veteran who died without any known family. These Leawood, Kansas churchgoers, more than 1,000 people, attended the service of David St. John.
Father Richard Storey revealed to a news outlet that the funeral home contacted him to explain that St. John left a note that he wished to have a Catholic Mass for his funeral as no family member can attend.
The church attendees voluntarily fill the church after Storey told the Sunday service about the situation. It was standing room only at Cure of Ars Catholic Church for St. John’s funeral service.
“It’s very important that somebody come and honor these veterans that fought so hard for our freedom this does not come free as of today we pray freely because of what they did for us in the past,” Storey explained.
Maryanne Sausz, one attendee, cited: “This veteran, he thought he had no friends and nobody would show up to his funeral but we’re here to celebrate his life because he sacrificed for our country.”
The Patriot Guard Riders website posted details about providing an escort for St. John, explaining: “We have been requested to escort David St. John to his final resting place at Leavenworth National Cemetery (VA) in Leavenworth, Kansas. This will be an escort only. Mr. St. John served in the Air Force from 1959 to 1964 and has no known family.”
Many people responded with prayers and condolences, including one message that read: “Alice and I wish to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this true American Hero. We thank you for your service to a grateful nation, may your family find peace in knowing you served proudly and comfort in the months to come. Your mission is complete. May you rest in peace. We salute you.”
The son of one of those churchgoers who helped organize the funeral posted the following on Facebook: “Very proud of my mother today for volunteering, decorating, and helping out organize this.
It’s a funeral today for an 80-year-old veteran who died with no friends or family to attend his funeral, so the church put out an open invitation to the public, and over 1,000 people showed up that didn’t even know him. Very beautiful. Also, big props to Patriot Guard Riders for showing up and volunteering to deliver his ashes from the church to the cemetery. Much love.”