As the country prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery will join thousands of Catholic Cemeteries across the United States in a national celebration, “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes.” This national program, developed by the Catholic Cemetery Conference, will honor those men and women who died while serving in the armed forces, as well as recognize both our active military and military veterans who have served our country.
At Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma, members of South San Francisco Girl Scout Troop #30348 will place American flags at the gravesites in the military section (Star of the Sea) in preparation for Memorial Day. On Monday, May 27th at 11am, Rev. Msgr. James Tarantino, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, will celebrate Mass at Holy Cross Mausoleum for all the faithful departed. The local celebration will also include the presentation of the colors by members of the Cesar E. Chavez American Legion Post 505 and the opportunity for cemetery visitors to remember loved ones by writing messages on tribute cards.
Also at 11am on Monday the 27th, Mass will be celebrated at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in San Rafael by Fr. Paul Perry and at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Menlo Park by Fr. Larry Goode. At 9:30am, Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic Cemetery in Half Moon Bay by Fr. Juan Lopez.
We hope you will join the Catholic Cemeteries in celebrating Memorial Day this year.
Quite often we hear people say, “I don’t want a funeral, I want a celebration of life. That’s what people are doing now.” Are more people having “celebrations of life” instead of “funerals”?
For a Catholic, the funeral is a profound celebration of life. The very first paragraph in the introduction to the Order of Christian Funerals says: “In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity.” We celebrate the life eternal promised to us. The introduction goes on to say, “Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.” We celebrate the life given to us. The Order of Christian Funerals talks about the importance of community, of consolation, of carefully selecting readings and music, of the involvement of the family in the planning. We celebrate together.
The holy season of Lent gives us an opportunity to relate closely to Jesus in His suffering and death. Throughout Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, there are places to meditate on the Way of the Cross. Stop by our office to pick up your Way of the Cross Prayer Guide and then spend time with the powerful paintings in Holy Cross Mausoleum, the beautiful carvings in All Saints Mausoleum or the striking mosaics outdoors in sections G2 and L2. Join Fr. Brian Costello, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Church, and the Holy Cross community for our First Saturday Mass on March 2 at 11am in All Saints Mausoleum. The Catholic Cemeteries are sacred places of prayer, meditation and reflection. Make us a part of your Lenten journey this year!
Please join us on Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013 for Mass in All Saints Mausoleum Chapel at 10am to honor Father Peter Yorke. Sponsored by the United Irish Societies of San Francisco with the Pearse and Connolly Fife and Drum Bands.
It seems that one of the most controversial sides of a cemetery has to do with decorations. Most active cemeteries have regulations about what can and cannot be placed on the graves and crypts. Even Dear Abby received a letter about this topic recently. The simplest explanation for the regulations cemeteries have is: safety and maintenance.
For example, we don’t allow candles with real flames on the graves. Believe it or not, we have had to put out fires, re-sod grass, and resurface headstones because of candles. Lighting a candle in memory of your loved one is a beautiful practice, but can be a dangerous practice outdoors in the cemetery. We have memorial candles available by the chapel in All Saints Mausoleum that are a lovely alternative. (more…)