Aims to Help Families Understand Pre-Need Planning to Ease At-Need Burden


Planning for life events such as weddings, education for children, retirement, and other big decisions can help simplify the complex and bring about a sense of peace and assurance.  Preparing for unexpected significant events can be equally important to avoid last minute decisions made with urgency and stress.

The loss of a loved one is a significant life event that is often a time of sorrow, uncertainty, and worry.  To help ease this difficult time, Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark helps inform its faithful community how to pre-arrange cemetery memorialization before the need arises to alleviate unnecessary and additional hardship.

“A time of loss is a time of confusion, and final arrangements do not have to add to the uncertainty,” says Andrew P. Schafer, executive director of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark.  “The worries of last-minute burial arrangements should not become part of a family’s grieving process, especially when experiencing profound sorrow.  It’s why we reach out regularly to families to inform them about the worthwhile benefits of pre-planning.”

Schafer explains that often times, grieving families attest to the appreciable difference of pre-set arrangements in easing their time of loss. “It allows family members to honor and celebrate the life of their departed loved one knowing their wishes are being carried out as pre-arranged,” he added.  “Deciding the details of cemetery arrangements in advance for yourself or a loved one may seem difficult, but putting a plan in place is a responsible and loving gesture that offers invaluable peace of mind.”

Open House Events for the Catholic Community

Catholic Cemeteries, a Ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark, will host open house events at several Archdiocesan cemeteries this spring.  Memorial Planning Advisors will be on hand to answer questions and share information about burial and cremation options, memorialization, and financial planning.


Upcoming open house weekends are as follows:

  • March 10 & 11 at Gate of Heaven Cemetery and Mausoleum, 225 Ridgedale Avenue in East Hanover
  • March 24 & 25 at Maryrest Cemetery and Mausoleum, 770 Darlington Avenue in Mahwah and at Christ the King Cemetery, 980 Huron Road in Franklin Lakes
  • April 7 & 8 at Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum, 340 Ridge Road in North Arlington
  • April 21 & 22 at Saint Gertrude Cemetery and Mausoleum, 53 Inman Avenue in Colonia
  • May 5 & 6 at Holy Name Cemetery and Mausoleum, 823 West Side Avenue in Jersey City


Each cemetery is open daily from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.  No appointment is necessary.


About Catholic Cemeteries

Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark serving Catholic families for over 160 years, tends to the needs of individuals and families before, at the time of, and after death. This includes caring assistance with cemetery pre-planning, compassionate support at the time of death, facilitating a loved one’s interment in a holy place, support throughout bereavement, and perpetual cemetery care. The Archdiocese of Newark operates 10 Catholic cemeteries vital to the Catholic community for more than 160 years.  Over one million faithful are interred in its cemeteries, and daily care is provided for each holy place and the entirety of each cemetery, perpetually.  Catholic Cemeteries recognizes the deep religious significance of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy involved in the burial of and prayers for a loved one and the sanctity of the Order of Christian Funerals.


Catholic Cemeteries offers several videos online at to highlight the significance of the Church’s funeral rituals during a time of loss. Additionally, a free planning booklet titled Continuing the Journey, Preparing a Catholic Funeral offers information on coping with the death of a loved one, ministry resources at a time of loss, Scripture Readings for Funerals, practical preparations, information on pre-planning, and more.   To learn more, visit

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Photo: Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark serving Catholic families for over 160 years, will host open house events at several cemetery locations to assist families in learning more about cemetery pre-planning, cremation, memorialization, and financial planning. Visit  (Photo courtesy of Catholic Cemeteries)

Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum Voted #1 in America



Named 2017 “American Cemetery Excellence” Winner

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NEWARK, N.J. – Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum in North Arlington, New Jersey, a property of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark, is the winner of the 2017 American Cemetery Excellence (ACE) Award.  The award is presented by American Cemetery & Cremation magazine, a leading publication serving the funeral and cemetery industry, and recognizes the most outstanding cemeteries both within the United States and abroad.


According to the magazine’s December issue, in which the winner was announced, “far more than just a final resting place, Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum offers a park-like setting, exquisite artwork, modern technology and a faith-inspired atmosphere. It’s easy to understand why Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum has been selected as our seventh annual American Cemetery Excellence award winner.”


“We received dozens of entries from cemeteries – all of them doing great things to serve their communities,” said Allison Sullivan, publisher of Kates-Boylston Publications. “But Holy Cross stood out in so many ways, and it truly exemplifies that cemeteries can continue to be relevant and beautiful.”


“It is an honor to be recognized with this prestigious award,” said Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries. “It recognizes our team’s commitment to our mission of faith and to the excellent service provided to bereaved families and our Catholic community.  We are very proud of this distinction.”


Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum offers an environment in which families feel welcome and comforted at a time when they need it most.  Established in 1915 to meet the needs of Catholic families, almost 300,000 individuals are interred in the 200-acre cemetery.


The artwork, headstones and private family mausoleums at Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum are evidence of timeless Catholic traditions that are deeply intertwined in the cemetery’s heritage.  However, the cemetery also has moved full-speed ahead with cutting-edge technology and architecture, innovative product choices, excellent customer service and unsurpassed beauty and grandeur.  The cemetery is a unique and holy place that allows families to memorialize and remember their departed loved ones in a beautiful, inviting and faith-filled atmosphere. It is a holy place with a museum-like characteristic and is recognized as one of the most magnificent cemeteries in the country.


Central to the cemetery is its 250,000-square-foot mausoleum – a modern marvel that spanned 37 years of construction and expansion.  The Genesis Mausoleum Chapel, which was completed in 2013, features 90 major works of art, including numerous original statues, 100-year-old stained and etched glass and accompanying liturgical works of art.


The breathtaking mausoleum expansion combines ancient scriptures and contemporary art in an effort to transform the unsettling reputation of cemeteries and mausoleums into a welcoming place filled with beautiful and meaningful symbols that inspire faith and hope.


According to Schafer, it is the commitment to families and attention to detail that has contributed to the cemeteries unique and special qualities. “It’s all about finding out what the needs are and filling them,” Schafer said.  “Over the years we have tried to respond to our families’ needs to the best of our ability in a respectful, dignified way.”


The cemetery was featured prominently in media coverage last fall when the town of North Arlington was named as one of Money magazine’s top 10 places to live in the U.S.  According to The Record newspaper, “the working-class Bergen County municipality may be best known to outsiders for its vast Holy Cross Cemetery…”


Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum was an ACE Award runner-up in 2016, as was Maryrest Cemetery and Mausoleum in Mahwah, New Jersey, one of Newark’s Archdiocesan cemeteries, which received the runner-up distinction in 2013.


To learn more about Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum and the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark, visit


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Genesis Chapel
The Genesis Chapel in Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum features more than 90 major works of art contributing to its museum-like characteristic.

Holy Cross landscape pic

An exterior view of the Genesis Chapel addition to Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum in North Arlington, New Jersey.

Pieta statue

A 15-foot marble statue with wooden cross of the Rondanini Pieta was imported from Italy and is now located outside of Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Canopy Under which StJPII Celebrated Mass

Saint John Paull II celebrated the Eucharist beneath this steel canopy in 1995 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The canopy is now located on the grounds of Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum in North Arlington, New Jersey.

9-11 Remembrance at Holy Cross Cemetery

9-11 Remembrance at Local Catholic Cemetery

9-11 Remembrance

Staff members at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, NJ, pause in front of the cemetery’s 9-11 Memorial Monument for a moment of silence and prayers to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the attacks on The World Trade Center and Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93.  Workers at each of eight archdiocesan properties of Catholic Cemeteries, a Ministry of the Archdiocese of Newark, gather to commemorate the 9-11 anniversary each year since the tragedy.

For more on the 9-11 Memorial Monument at Holy Cross Cemetery, click here.

Holy Cross Cemetery featured in national Catholic Cemetery magazine

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Catholic Cemetery magazine March 2017

Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum, in North Arlington, NJ, a property of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark, was recognized recently as one of three runners-up in the 2016 ACE (American Cemetery Excellence) Award contest from American Cemetery & Cremation magazine. This is the second Catholic Cemeteries property recognized as a contest runner-up by ACE. Maryrest Cemetery and Mausoleum in Mahwah, NJ, earned this distinction in 2013.

The Cemetery’s recognition is featured in the March edition of the national magazine, Catholic Cemetery. Click here to read more.


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.

Remembering 9-11


The 9-11 Memorial Monument at Holy Cross Cemetery 

Within the first few weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Newark, noticed a makeshift memorial in Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, N.J.  A cemetery fence facing the New York City skyline was covered with Mass cards, flowers, prayer cards, signs seeking missing people and more.  It became the spot where people gathered.  A spot where the panoramic view of the city skyline was now missing the Twin Towers.

Schafer decided a memorial in Holy Cross Cemetery would be appropriate. The structure would fill a void and possibly offer hope to those who needed it.

A community-based fundraising program helped raise $225,000 for the planning, materials and building of the 2,000-pound structure in time for a dedication Mass ten years later.

The stainless steel structure of the monument, designed by a local artist, is an abstract view of the Twin Towers in the sky.  Each side of the frame features a titanium panel representing a montage of experiences during and after 9-11.  Such scenes include the aftermath of 9-11, response teams running toward the towers to save innocent civilians, and people coming together to remember those who died.

The cross in the structure’s center is a visual illusion that comes together when you look at the memorial from the front.  It is an interpretation of the “cross” steel beams found at ground zero and it became an important symbol to those affected by 9-11.   The red, amber and orange hued stained glass inside the cross signifies the fire and experiences that took place on 9-11, and the red also is synonymous with the blood of Christ.

The base of the memorial is composed of granite pavers extracted from Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on which Saint John Paul II and Saint Teresa of Calcutta walked.  Additionally, twisted beams from the original Twin Towers are on display donated to us by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The creation and dedication of this extraordinary monument deeply touched members of the local fire department. As such, they adopted it for their brigade’s own emblem in memory of their fallen brethren and specially-designed lapel pins bearing the Holy Cross 9-11 monument and inscription were created: “We Remember. We Believe. Holy Cross Cemetery, N. Arlington, NJ, Dedication Mass, September 22, 2011.”

“It’s a place of hope, and people often meditate or sit quietly and reflect around it.”  – Andrew Schafer, Catholic Cemeteries

During the two years that the monument was under construction and the nine years of fundraising efforts, many gifted individuals contributed to the initiative.  The 9-11 tragedy was particularly personal for our New Jersey area residents. Extra attention and efforts were extended at every turn, from donated materials and time, to the precise preparation of the foundation, to the polisher of the welds, to the fabricator of the titanium photo montage panels, to the landscaping.  The monument is a colossal gift from the hearts of countless individuals and our local communities.

Today, the Holy Cross Cemetery 9-11 Memorial is a place of hope and healing. People often meditate or sit quietly and reflect around it. When visiting the memorial, one will notice the many fingerprints on the titanium montage panels from people who touch the structure and desire to be a part of its message.

In memory of all the victims of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath… we hope this memorial provides a peaceful place for visitation and prayer.




The Holy Cross Mausoleum is the largest in the United States…

NORTH ARLINGTON – The Holy Cross Mausoleum is the largest in the United States, and will include 90 pieces of art worth millions of dollars.

The Bergen County structure is currently undergoing a major $18 million expansion. When completed, the mausoleum will house 35,747 available spaces.

The newly renovated area has crypts covered in marble and already has two hand-made glass and stone mosaics depicting the Book of Genesis.

The mosaics are two of six pieces of art to be installed. All are made by a company in Beverly Hills and use 1,700 different colors.

The new section of the building also contains shrines salvaged from a church in Vailsburg that was forced to shut down.

Holy Cross is run by the Archdiocese of Newark. Joe Verzi, assistant director of Catholic Cemeteries, says the expansion is needed as more people are turning to mausoleums as their final resting place.

Church officials say 270,000 have been interred at Holy Cross Cemetery since it was built in 1915.

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Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum under construction