Lazarus Ministry

St. Anthony’s Lazarus Ministry

Honoring Death With Dignity

At St. Anthony Shrine, we are honored to be able to provide burials for our poorest sisters and brothers: the homeless and those who die SAS-Lazarus1alone or with no known next-of-kin. With the assistance of local funeral homes, such as Dolan Funeral Home and Lawler & Crosby Funeral Home, St. Anthony Shrine has provided funeral services and Masses for many of Boston’s most needy.

St. Anthony Shrine offers its services free of charge, including its facilities, Mass of Christian Burial, and grave space for those who would otherwise be buried in a pauper’s grave. The Shrine also pays for the cost of opening and closing the grave before and after the burial, and a modest grave marker. Other services may include clothing for the deceased, flowers and continued prayers from the worshipping community.


The Lazarus Ministry is open to the homeless and abandoned, no matter their faith. The Lazarus Ministry at St. Anthony Shrine does not discriminate on the bases of religion (creed), race, color, national origin, immigrant status, age, disability, military status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. All are welcome at St. Anthony Shrine and the Lazarus Ministry.

In the past, we have helped many people of different religions, and even those who have freshly immigrated to the United States only to die within their first few days in the country. There are times when the homeless, or those without families, are held at the Medical Examiners Office for over a year, only to find the Lazarus Ministry as their means to a dignified funeral.

We have also been the only representatives of homeless Veterans at their funeral at the Veterans Cemetery in Bourne, MA. As Taps is played by a Military Cadet, the flag that once draped the coffin of the homeless Veteran is passed on to the Friar who represents the sole friend of the deceased Veteran.

The Shrine community continues to honor all those whom we have helped through the Lazarus Ministry by offering a “Remembrance Mass” in November.

Whether through a dignified and proper burial or helping families cope with the death of a loved one through our various grief ministries, St. Anthony Shrine is dedicated to the entire person, in death and in life.

We pledge to be there for those who have died alone so that someone is “standing beside their casket.”

How to help:

The process for Lazarus funeral and burial is initiated when medical personnel and/or social work professionals representing their respective agency contact us with a potential client (deceased).
 There are two criteria:  (1) The deceased has recently been homeless (2) There is no living next-of-kin.
 After the medical personnel and social work professionals representing their respective agency contact us, and we determine that this is, in fact, a client eligible for the Lazarus Ministry, we contact our respective Funeral Home partner(s), usually Dolan Funeral Home.
 The funerals are very standard.  Since there is no family, there are no “special requests” or lengthy funeral planning meetings.
 The public is very much invited to attend or to contribute financially to support the ministry.  Within this ministry, there are currently no other roles (e.g., advocate for the deceased, etc.)

More Information

For more information on the Lazarus Ministry at St. Anthony Shrine, please contact Julie Ogden at 617-542-6440 Ext. 146 ([email protected]).