New columbarium and statues dedicated
Remembering those who died during Mass for Memorial Day
By TARA CONNOLLY
Msgr. Baver blesses the new columbarium. (Photos by John Simitz)
"As a people of faith we have a great gift here on earth. But we have to look forward to it far beyond our powers to imagine," said Msgr. William Baver May 26 at Holy Saviour Cemetery, Bethlehem during a Mass in commemoration of Memorial Day.
Msgr. Baver, director of diocesan cemeteries and pastor of SS. Simon and Jude, Bethlehem, celebrated the outdoor Mass and presided at the dedication and blessing of a new columbarium and four new statues erected at the cemetery.
"This day is a day of conclusions. Our first reading concludes the Book of the Acts of the Apostles by St. Luke. The Gospel is the conclusion of the Gospel according to John. With the solemnity of Pentecost we conclude the Easter season. Conclusions are but a prelude to something more in the divine plan," said Msgr. Baver.
In his homily, he also honored fallen veterans and deceased loved ones, and made special mention of the Tomb of the Unborn Child, a memorial located at Holy Saviour as well as at Resurrection Cemetery, Allentown, the other of two diocesan cemeteries.
"Memorial Day weekend again affords opportunity to celebrate Mass for our veterans while also remembering all others interred in our cemetery.... Every burial in the Catholic cemetery proclaims the sacredness of life. The buried or entombed cremated human remains are signs of meaningful acts of faith by the Christian community," said Msgr. Baver.
"Because remembering is important for those who have died, the Catholic Church remembers, too, those who have died because of a miscarriage," he added.
"We believe that a fetus is a child and therefore should be given burial in a cemetery."
After the Mass, Msgr. Baver blessed a new columbarium, a vault housing 72 niches for the storage of cinerary urns holding cremated human remains, and statues from former parishes St. John Capistrano, St. Stanislaus, Our Lady of Pompeii, and SS. Cyril and Methodius, Bethlehem.
With only three niches remaining in the cemetery's public mausoleum, Msgr. Baver said the new columbarium, set on a concrete base with four granite benches facing it, provides a dignified setting for the entombment of loved ones.
"One urn is placed in each niche with a bronze memorial plaque with Catholic symbolism," said Msgr. Baver.
The all-white statues given a new home at the cemetery and adorning its entrance include an angel, St. Stanislaus, Our Lady of Pompeii and the Blessed Mother. Each statue's pedestal is inscribed with an honor to its original parish and parishioners.
"While Incarnation of Our Lord is the new merged parish name, with St. Joseph building as a worship site, the original names of parishes are forever remembered here in Holy Saviour Cemetery," said Msgr. Baver.
The Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus acted as an honor guard for the Mass and dedication. Catholic War Veterans from Post 454 also participated.
For more information about the columbarium, call James Reich, sales manager for diocesan cemeteries, 610-866-2372.