Libertytown parish is home to first Titanic memorial

April 05, 2012

By George P. Matysek Jr.
gmatysek@CatholicReview.org

Amid the hoopla of the release of a 3D version of James Cameron’s Oscar-winning ‘Titanic,’ a commemoration of a quieter sort will take place at St. Peter the Apostle in Libertytown on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the doomed ship.

Parishioners will gather in St. Peter’s historic cemetery April 15 at 2 p.m. to pray beside the first monument in the United States – and possibly, the world – erected to remember those who died in the disaster. Father Jason Worley, pastor, said a wreath will be laid beside the enormous monument, which features life-size Mount Calvary figures of Jesus on the cross, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Apostle. 

The memorial was dedicated on April 19, 1912, just days after the Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic and sunk during her maiden voyage from England to New York with 2,228 people aboard. Only 705 survived the tragedy. 

The monument includes a plaque, indicating that the memorial was blessed by Redemptorist Father Francis Klauder and Father Samuel J. Kavanaugh, pastor. 

“It was a tremendously tragic event and people wanted to honor the dead,” Father Worley said of Titanic-era parishioners. “They were in the process of beautifying the cemetery and erecting the Mount Calvary image and they decided to dedicate it to the Titanic victims.”

St. Peter’s cemetery is open to visitors, Father Worley said.