When planning a class reunion be sure to include a means of honoring classmates who have died. Using a litany gives the group as a whole a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the life of those who are no longer alive. Capture class reunionIn this litany, a leader offers words of prayer and thankfulness and the audience members participate through short unison responses. The following Litany of Remembrance was written by Episcopal Bishop James Magness for use at a 50th high school reunion.


Capture class reunion 2Before the reunion, compile a list of deceased classmates for inclusion in the printed program. When doing the litany as a group, you may ask classmates who were close to the deceased classmate to read out their name during the program. If you have various class members participate, list their name as “Reader” next to that of the class member being honored. At the 50th reunion, the “Readers” remained in the audience and called out the name they were assigned from their table.

Place the programs on the chairs or tables in advance so that each person attending has a copy not only as a way to participate in the program, but also as a keepsake.

(Note: At the beginning of this litany, ask the audience to rise as they are able in honor of the deceased classmates.)

A Litany of Remembrance

By Rt. Rev. James B. Magness

Leader:  Almighty God, before whom stand the living and the dead, we your children, whose mortal life is but a hand’s breadth, give thanks to you: For all those through whom you have blessed our pilgrimage, whose lives have empowered us, whose influence is a healing grace…

People: We lift up thankful hearts.

Leader:  For the dear friends and classmates whose faces we see no more, but whose lives are with us forever…

People: We lift up thankful hearts.

Leader: For these friends of our childhood and youth, and for the memories with which they leave us…

People: We lift up thankful hearts.

Leader: For those who sacrificed themselves, who have given their lives for the sake of others…

People: We lift up thankful hearts.

Leader: That we may hold them all in loving remembrance and think of them as experiencing eternity with you…

People:  We lift up thankful hearts.

Leader: With love and thanksgiving we now remember our friends whose lives are no longer lived with us…

(Note: After each name of each person is read, in unison we will repeat the person’s first name.)

Deceased Classmates                                              Readers

(Note: Assign different classmates to read the person’s name out loud. In a small or medium size setting, the classmates may remain at their seats and speak the person’s name loudly and clearly from their seat.)

(A time of silence is observed.)

Leader:  “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning:”*

People:  We will remember them.*

Leader:  Almighty and eternal God, we thank you for all of our days; for the many people who have blessed us throughout our lives. We thank you for sharing them with us, and for receiving them with your love. We thank you that we can envision them in our memories. In your name O God, the Lord of all, and the creator of heaven and earth, we pray.

All: Amen.

*Quote from “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon 1914

Bishop James MagnessCopyright Rt. Rev. James B. Magness 2014. All rights reserved.

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