5 Reasons to Choose a Catholic Cemetery
As a Catholic or family member of a
Catholic, you may ask “why should I be buried at a Catholic cemetery?” After
one year of working at Gardens of Gethsemani, the Catholic Cemetery of the Archdiocese
of Vancouver, and hearing people’s experiences and reflecting on my own, I’ve
come up with five reasons why I’d like to be buried at a Catholic cemetery:
5. Lower Cost
In the case of Gardens of Gethsemani, because it is a non-for-profit cemetery, the cost to bury is often lower than corporate cemeteries. Gardens, which is operated by the Archdiocese, is able to provide lower costs while maintaining high quality in its grounds, products and Catholic experience. Gardens also provides free burials for priests and the unborn.
Funerals and end of life expenses can add
up and this is why as a Catholic cemetery Gardens strives to provide options
for all income levels. We want all Catholics, their family members, and
baptized Christians to feel welcome here.
4. All proceeds go back into the Church
I can rest assured that the money I spend in purchasing my pre-needs or at needs at the cemetery will go towards supporting the local Church. In our case here in Vancouver, the money goes towards causes such as the formation of seminarians, prison ministry, refugee ministry, the Door is Open soup kitchen, and the Men’s shelter to name a few. By buying real estate at the Catholic cemetery we are supporting the Church and it’s works of education, evangelization and mercy.
3. I’m Catholic
When someone asks me about my identity, the first thing that comes to mind is that I’m Catholic. I was born in Surrey, raised in Costa Rica, Austria and the United States and my parents are a mix of European backgrounds. The one thing that we held on to during all those travels and cultural experiences was our Catholic faith.
If where I’m laid to rest is going to represent who I am, I want to be laid to rest in a Catholic cemetery with my bishops, priests and Catholic brothers and sisters. We’re a big family with our issues, our limitations, our good intentions and our striving for an ideal. This Catholic Church is my family, it is my tribe. This is the family that I’ve suffered with, that I’ve journeyed with. It is the Church that has baptized me, nourished me with the Eucharist, taught me to love God above all things.
2. The continuity of care, prayers and liturgical presence
At a Catholic cemetery, I can trust that these
grounds have been consecrated by the Bishop and kept and revered as a sacred
place where the bodies of those who are part of the mystical body of Christ
have been laid to rest. A Catholic cemetery is truly a sacred place, guarded by
the holy angels and consecrated both by prayers and the bodily remains. I just
think of al the saints who may be buried here, their remains as relics
sanctifying the place.
- I want to be buried close to my family and loved ones
My parents have made their pre-arrangements and secured a place close to the Evangelist Chapel at Gardens of Gethsemani. Even now, as I walk by the chapel, I think of how one day they will both be buried there, and it is comforting to know that.
After a year of working at Gardens I have gotten to know many of the families and individuals buried here or who have made pre-arrangements, and I think, “I’d like to be buried here too.” My niece is buried in Rachel’s Garden. My sister in law’s dad is buried close to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. My friend’s mom is buried close to The Good Shepherd Statue. I have a relationship with these grounds and with these people. Each person buried here is someone with a unique story, people who have been loved and who meant something to someone. The more I get to hear these stories, the more this place comes to life for me.
I see these lovely Filipino families on Sundays chatting, laughing and eating around the graves of their family members: sharing stories and singing their favorite songs. I see widowers visiting the graves of their deceased wives and making friends with other people grieving the loss of their loved ones. I meet people of great faith who despite grieving a loss, are confident that heaven is our true home and that those who go before us are surrounded by love, light and peace. I love walking through Gardens of Gethsemani and making visits to Our Lord in the chapel and to my favorite shrines of Our Lady and the Saints. There is one statue in particular that I love: Our Lady of Peace. Our Lady’s open arms remind me how she is embracing with her motherly warmth all those who are on their journey to the heavenly home.
I love walking through Gardens of Gethsemani and making visits to Our Lord in the chapel and to my favorite shrines of Our Lady and the Saints. There is one statue in particular that I love: Our Lady of Peace. Our Lady’s open arms remind me how she is embracing with her motherly warmth all those who are on their journey to the heavenly home.