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Catholic Cemeteries, a Ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark, recently presented checks to two, local Catholic charities that provide food to the area’s poor, low income, and homeless families. The funds come from parishioners and visitors who donated at one of five Catholic Cemeteries mausoleum locations during the Christmas season. The money supports the work of The Emergency Food Network of Catholic Charities and The Missionary Sisters of Charity.

“Feeding the hungry is one of the most basic acts of loving kindness and is one of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy,” said Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries. “Donating food on behalf of a departed loved one truly honors their memory in a tangible way, and is a Mitzvah or a wonderful gift that cannot be repaid. We encourage our cemetery visitors and community to help feed the marginalized within our Archdiocese not just at Christmas time, but year-round because that’s when it’s needed.”

The Emergency Food Network of Catholic Charities, located in Cranford, NJ, coordinates and supports a network of food pantries, donor churches, schools, community groups, and volunteers by providing assistance and emergency food supplies to 50 food centers in the Archdiocese of Newark.

The Newark-based Missionary Sisters of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, provides food and shelter primarily for women in the community. The center helps with daily meals, clothing, and career and emotional counseling.

To donate to the Catholic Cemeteries Food Bank Ministry, visit online at

PHOTO: Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark, presents a $1,000 check to Sharon Reilly-Tobin, Program Manager for the Emergency Food and Nutrition Network, in front of a photo depicting a mosaic of Mother Teresa feeding the hungry. The actual 10-foot high mosaic is on display at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover, NJ. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark)IMG_20170303_104946588 rev

Honoring Departed Clergy and Loved Ones

Memorial Mass in Newark’s Basilica on All Souls Day

Honors Departed Clergy and Loved Ones

Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, celebrated a special Mass for its departed clergy on All Souls Day.

“Sadly, we lost retired Archbishop Peter Gerety, the world’s oldest Catholic bishop, and many of our beloved priests in the past year, and so we felt it was appropriate to celebrate a special Mass to honor them, as well as all our departed loved ones,” said Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of the office of Catholic Cemeteries. “Our dearly departed clergy were more than ministers of our faith. They were our family members and our friends, and we are thankful for their sacrifices, their ministry, and their love.”

The memorial Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and was attended by Bishops, clergy, seminarians, bereavement facilitators, the Knights of Columbus, parishioners and family members of the deceased clergy.

Saint Teresa Statue Blessing

The Rev. Joseph Ferraro (center) of Holy Family Church in Nutley, N.J., leads visitors in prayer during a ceremony and blessing of a statue of the newly-canonized Saint Teresa of Calcutta. The ceremony was on Sept. 7 at Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum in North Arlington following the cemetery’s monthly Mass of Remembrance. Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint on Sept. 4.

Visitors received a commemorative card of Mother Teresa quotes and recited the prayer that she prayed daily with her sisters.

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Holy Name Cemetery & Mausoleum Celebrates 150 Years

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Celebrating 150 Years of Catholic Faith & Heritage!

Celebrating 150 years of Catholic faith and heritage since 1866, Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, was established to meet the needs of the community’s Catholic families. The historic Hudson County cemetery occupies 63 acres and is surrounded by a combination of small businesses and single-family residences.

Holy Name Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Jersey City with approximately 264,000 burials. A section of the cemetery is dedicated to the burial of priests and nuns who served in the city’s Roman Catholic parishes and parochial schools.

The cemetery’s striking landscape is marked with many elaborately-carved stone monuments. It is also the final sacred resting place to many notable Catholics. Among these are former Jersey City Mayor (1917-1947) Francis “Frank” Hague, former state Senator Thomas Cowan, Justice Marie Garibaldi, who was the first woman appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Frank Sinatra’s grandparents’ mausoleum, Robert Hopkins, a crew member in charge of life boat #13 of the ill-fated Titanic, four other Titanic survivors with ties to Hudson County, and many Hudson County veterans from as far back as the Spanish American and Civil Wars.

In 2005, the first community garden mausoleum with 1,300 crypts was added.  Made of solid granite and nearly the length of a football field, the building’s beautiful architectural features include five gabled and gated alcoves with recessed panels topped with decorative granite motifs and walls in varying granite colors.  The artistic garden mausoleum is a structure like no other in a congested urban area.

A magnificent two-story chapel mausoleum constructed in 2010 stands with a church-like presence on West Side Avenue. The neoclassical granite structure is adorned with decorative carvings that are reminiscent of a beautiful and subtly colorful tapestry. Skylights allow for plentiful light which creates a comforting place for prayer and reflection. The chapel mausoleum also features numerous original works of liturgical art including brilliant stained glass windows and an ornate, two-story mosaic highlighting the classic monogram for the Holy Name (IHS), the first three letters of the name of Jesus (IHSUS) in the Greek alphabet.  Saints who have been promoters of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus during the church’s history also are depicted.

The cornerstone of the mausoleum’s decorative theme is a suite of windows rescued from Saint Boniface Parish Church in Jersey City, a parish community established in the early 1860s to serve the large German population of lower Jersey City. The stained glass windows, completed in 1896, were designed by a glass studio in Austria. Each window was given to the parish by either a family or organization of the Saint Boniface Parish community.

Holy Name Cemetery and Mausoleum is open daily from 9:00am to 4:30pm and is located at 823 West Side Avenue in Jersey City.










Archdiocese of Newark Forced to Shut Down Popular Monument Program

Archdiocese of Newark Forced to Shut Down Popular Monument Program

Law Banning Monument Sales by Archdiocese Takes Effect Todaynew-jersey-headstones-2304-sm

Arlington, Va.— The Archdiocese of Newark must shut down its cemetery inscription-rights program due to a law that goes into effect today that makes it illegal for all religious cemeteries in New Jersey to sell headstones or monuments to its parishioners. The law, signed one year ago by Gov. Chris Christie, was passed solely to protect politically connected local businesses that lobbied for protection from competition. The Archdiocese is currently challenging the law in federal court.

“We have dreaded this day for a year,” said Andrew P. Schafer, executive director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Cemeteries. “This new law protects only the interests of funeral directors and monument dealers while eliminating the rights of the families we serve and our ministry. Parishioners value and appreciate the inscription-rights program. It is convenient to purchase with cemetery interment rights, the funds help ensure permanent monument and cemetery care, and it supports the mission of Catholic Cemeteries, a perpetual institution. Most important, it ensures the integrity and care of a loved one’s memorial forever. Their memorial headstone is a statement of faith for generations to come.”

The Archdiocese began to provide cemetery monuments through its Office of Catholic Cemeteries as part of its inscription-rights program 10 years ago. Under the program, the Church retains ownership of the monument and maintains it in perpetuity, ensuring its care and upkeep. However, when a parishioner buys a monument from a private dealer, the monument becomes the parishioner’s property—and any damage due to aging, weather and so forth becomes the parishioner’s responsibility. Until today, the Archdiocese offered monuments and their preservation to ensure that its cemeteries remained safe, well tended and respectful of the deceased in perpetuity.

New Jersey monument dealers did not like competition from the inscription-rights program and sued the Archdiocese in 2013 to shut down its program. That lawsuit failed because it was not illegal at that time for the Church to sell monuments. The monument dealers then turned to the Legislature in late 2014 to stamp out any competition. The New Jersey Legislature outlawed the Church’s practice despite the lack of any public threat. Governor Christie signed the law on March 23, 2015, and it goes into effect today.

The Archdiocese, along with two of its parishioners and the Institute for Justice, challenged the law in federal court in July 2015, arguing that banning the Church’s monument sales was unconstitutional because the prohibition was designed to protect politically connected insiders, not the public. The state sought to dismiss the lawsuit and that motion remains pending.

“The Archdiocese is fighting back because the government can’t ban harmless commerce just to make industry insiders better off at the expense of the public,” said Jeff Rowes, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents the Archdiocese. “We expect the federal court to rule soon that our legal challenge can go forward, and we will then establish that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow New Jersey to shut down the Church’s innovative inscription-rights program just to make private monument dealers wealthier.”

This case has the potential to change the law beyond the issue of selling cemetery monuments. Neither the federal trial court in New Jersey nor the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on whether the Constitution allows the government to pass laws just to protect favored businesses from competition.

“This case presents one of the most important unresolved questions in constitutional law. Federal courts across the country disagree over whether private economic protectionism is constitutional and that issue will be presented for the first time within the 3rd Circuit in our case here,” said Greg Reed, an attorney with the Institute for Justice and co-counsel for the case.

“It is with great disappointment today that due to this unconstitutional law we can no longer provide this much-needed and requested service,” added Schafer. “We are not giving up without a fight because the legacy of our parishioners is at stake.”


Memorial Mass Honors Deceased Clergy

Memorial Mass in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart Honors Deceased Archbishops, Bishops and Priests

Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark, recently celebrated a special Mass for its deceased Archbishops, Bishops and Priests, especially those who died during the past year. 

“Sadly, we have lost so many of our beloved clergy in recent months that we wanted to set aside a special day to honor them,” said Andrew Schafer, Executive Director of the Ministry of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark. “Our dearly departed clergy were more than ministers of our faith. They were our family members and our friends, and we are thankful for their sacrifices, their ministry, and their love.

The memorial Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and was attended by Archbishop Bernard Hebda, clergy, parishioners, bereavement facilitators, Archdiocesan staff, the Knights of Columbus, and family members of the deceased clergy.


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Church Cemetery Banned from Selling Headstones



CONTACT:  Shira Rawlinson, (530) 902-7630;


Archdiocese of Newark Sues New Jersey Over Headstone Law

Arlington, Va.—Can the government restrict economic liberty just to protect politically-connected insiders? That question is at the center of a landmark constitutional challenge filed today in federal court by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, two of its parishioners and the Institute for Justice. Previously, IJ successfully represented the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey in their challenge to Louisiana’s casket-sales law.

The lawsuit challenges New Jersey’s outrageous new law that makes it illegal for the Archdiocese to sell headstones to parishioners. The New Jersey Legislature passed this law at the behest of the Monument Builders Association of New Jersey, the lobbying arm of the headstone-dealers industry.

Watch a short video about the lawsuit

The Archdiocese has been embroiled in a dispute with the Monument Builders Association of New Jersey, which convinced the state Legislature to pass this law after losing a different lawsuit against the Archdiocese last spring. In 2013, the Monument Builders sued the Archdiocese in state court, arguing that it was “unfair” for private religious cemeteries to sell headstones, but lost because it was not illegal for the Archdiocese to sell headstones to people being buried in its cemeteries. This new lawsuit seeks to overturn the law, which was passed in the spring, explicitly making it against the law to simply sell a headstone.

“A headstone is just a beautiful rock and there is no legitimate reason to restrict who can sell one,” explained IJ Senior Attorney Jeff Rowes. “This attack on the economic liberty of the Archdiocese is one of countless examples from across the country of how special interests and lawmakers conspire to clobber consumers and drive up prices. We are willing to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight this,” he added.

A few years ago, the Archdiocese began what it calls the “inscription-rights program” in which the church provides the monument, inscribes it according to the wishes of the parishioner, and still retains ownership of the headstone so that the church can maintain it in perpetuity. By selling headstones as part of the inscription-rights program, the Archdiocese can better care for the nearly 1,000,000 people at rest in its cemeteries.


“Our parishioners value and appreciate the convenience of monument planning with us and understand that obtaining their headstone through us contributes to the long-term well-being of the headstone, the cemetery, and the Archdiocese as a whole, a perpetual institution,” said Andrew Schafer, the executive director of Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark. “With this new law the countless families who entrust us to bury their loved ones and protect their sacred ground now must purchase memorials elsewhere.”


The challenged law raises one of the most important unsettled questions in constitutional law: Can the government use public power solely for private gain? A victory for the Archdiocese will set a precedent preventing other industry cartels from conspiring with legislators to pass anti-competitive laws that hamstring entrepreneurs and drive up costs for consumers.

“Legislatures across the country cater to special interests at the expense of the public because courts have not been vigilant of enforcing our constitutional right to economic liberty,” said Institute for Justice Attorney Greg Reed. “The Archdiocese intends to make it clear that Americans everywhere have a right to engage in productive commerce and this right cannot be stripped away by special-interest legislation.”