SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s unusual, important, and heartwarming. Dozens of unclaimed deceased individuals received the service and funeral they deserve.

This is the fifth year a special mass has been held at Scranton Prep. For years in Lackawanna County, the unclaimed were cremated and placed in a paupers field.

Since taking office coroner Timothy Rowland has made sure they’re treated with dignity. One-by-one 25 black cremation boxes are handed to Scranton Prep seniors from a coroner van.

Students walked them to the gymnasium for a mass. In the past year, the individuals were never claimed by family members or friends.

Father AJ Rizzo, leading the mass Thursday, with hundreds of students attending.

“It’s amazing that we get to recognize these individuals who don’t have a family to recognize them and that we’re able to give them a proper send-off,” stated Eremi Racine, senior at Scranton Prep.

Each name read aloud, as their urns stand at the front of the alter.

“They truly went full circle from baptism all the way to their funeral service that we are able to give them which is such a special thing that we are able to do,” explained William Vinsko, a senior at Scranton Prep.

“We have some responsibility to ultimately do something with them,” stated Rowland.

Since 2018 Lackawanna County Coroner Timothy Rowland has made this possible. Giving the unclaimed their due respect.

“The age range could be 20 to 85. They are people that died from the pandemic, they died from drug overdoses they died from suicide and there was a woman in there that was struck by a vehicle,” explained Rowland.

At the end of mass, seniors returned the cremains in a procession back to the coroner van to be laid to rest.

Their final resting place is at St. Catherine’s cemetery near Moscow. The cremains is placed in a crypt where they can be claimed by family anytime in the future.