Andrew P. Schafer, the executive director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Newark, offered an interesting idea: the cemeteries are the true archives of the archdiocese.
In other words, the lives of the faithful make up the mosaic of people whose lives we remember during the month of November. And especially this Sunday, the first Sunday of November, when throughout the U.S., it is Cemetery Sunday.
"We encourage the faithful to pray for the deceased," said Schafer, who is especially proud of the new mausoleum Just completed in Jersey City's Holy Name Cemetery, which will have an open house this Saturday, Nov. 6.
This is the first mausoleum in the entire archdiocese to benefit from the patrimony program to preserve religious artifacts and sacred vessels - started by Newark's Archbishop John Myers. This two-story structure fronting on West Side Avenue has stained glass from two closed churches, St. Boniface and St. Lucy, in downtown Jersey City. And there are three exterior huge statues adorning the outside of the mausoleum from the long shuttered St. Michael's Monastery in Union City.
Thirteen stained glass windows, valued at over $525,000, came from St. Boniface, which was a German territorial parish on First Street that became a thriving Hispanic parish until it was incorporated into the new parish of the Resurrection. Two years ago, it was closed and the church and rectory were put up for sale.
Throughout the mausoleum are images of The Good Shepherd, St. Joseph, S1. Ann and the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Boniface and St. Dominic, representing the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, who used to staff the parish school, among other saints.
Gil Studios of New York was commissioned to remove, clean, re-Iead and install the new windows in the mausoleum. "These fragile artifacts represent how our community has expressed it faith over the years," said Schafer.
There are also four angel stained glass windows from St. Lucy's Church. That site is the largest homeless shelter in the state of N.J., sponsored by Catholic Charities of the archdiocese.
Holy Name Cemetery has been unable to provide new burial plots for over 25 years for lack of ground space, said Schafer, so a small, one-story, garden-type mausoleum was constructed next to the new one on West Side Avenue. My parents, Grace and AI, Arsenio Naval and Dr. Luz Morable Naval, and Margaret and Dr. Jerome Dolan are entombed there.
The new mausoleum is all closed in with a beautiful chapel that will allow for monthly Masses and reception to families at the time of entombment. It will be able to entomb 3,000 bodies or cremains and the total cost for the building is over $8 million.
There is a huge mosaic on The Holy Name of Jesus that was just completed on my visit last week as the centerpiece of the chapel. Rambusch Studios of Jersey City oversaw its design and installation. The mosaic contains over a million tesserae (small tiles) that were placed on squares in Italy, according to Martin Rambusch, an owner of the studio.
It contains names and images of saints whose lives venerated the Holy Name of Jesus, like St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus, commonly called Jesuits. And St. Peter's College campus, a Jesuit school, is across West Side Avenue from Holy Name.
The cemetery has also removed some streets and opened new ground burial sections so that up to 500 plots are now available. And they will join Mayor Frank Hague, Mary Norton, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress on the east coast, as well as priests and Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis. The infamous, famous and holy men and women through generations are here.
The new Holy Name Mausoleum in Jersey City, Wednesday, September 8, 2010. -- Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal
The Holy Name of Jesus Chapel.
Joseph J. Verzi, left, Assistant Executive Director of Development & Construction for Catholic Cemeteries, and Donald J. Finan, Superintendent of Holy Name Cemetery, stand beside the Sacred Heart Window donated by Fridoline Epple.
The stained glass windows were mouth-blown, created in 1896 in Innsbruck, Germany. In total they are valued at about $525,000. -- Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal
The Saint Paul Window.
From left to right, are The Saint Agnes Window donated by Magdalena Burgert, The Saint Boniface Window donated by the Saint Boniface Society and The Saint Anthony Window donated by John Botthof and Family.
A detail of The Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Window donated by a John and Catherine, their last names lost from the parish records.
Catholic Cemeteries cordially invites you to our Memorial Day Mass celebrated annually on our beautiful cemetery grounds. Invite friends and family to the celebration of Mass to pray and remember the faithful departed. Mass begins at 11:00AM.
This section is intended to provide both a background for our longstanding Catholic cemetery tradition and specific information about various programs, policies and procedures operative in our archdiocesan cemeteries.