“Creation of mankind” sculpture by Frederick Hart, Washington National Cathedral | Wikimedia Commons | bit.ly/2s53xmO

Matthew Shepard, who was murdered at age 21, will be interred at Washington National Cathedral after a service of thanksgiving and remembrance on Oct. 26, at the request of the Shepard family.

Oct. 12 is the 20th anniversary of Shepard’s death. The service will celebrate and recall Shepard’s life and will be followed by a private interment in the cathedral crypt.

The service will be presided over by the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, and the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church.

“We’ve given much thought to Matt’s final resting place, and we found the Washington National Cathedral is an ideal choice, as Matt loved the Episcopal church and felt welcomed by his church in Wyoming,” said Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother. “For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt’s story with the world. It’s reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world.”

“Matthew Shepard’s death is an enduring tragedy affecting all people and should serve as an ongoing call to the nation to reject anti-LGBTQ bigotry and instead embrace each of our neighbors for who they are,” said the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “In the years since Matthew’s death, the Shepard family has shown extraordinary courage and grace in keeping his spirit and memory alive, and the cathedral is honored and humbled to serve as his final resting place.”

Shepard will be one of approximately 200 people to be interred in the cathedral in the last century, including President Woodrow Wilson, Bishop Thomas Claggett, Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, and U.S. Navy Admiral George Dewey.

Adapted from Washington National Cathedral

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