We continue to remember all those interred in the Catholic Cemeteries in a very special way during this month of All Souls. If you haven’t already had a chance to visit the cemetery and spend some time in prayer and memories, please make time during this month . . . our grounds are open from 8am until sunset.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday on our calendar: a day to enjoy good food and company, and to be mindful of the blessings in our lives. We at the Catholic Cemeteries are grateful to have the opportunity to work in such a meaningful ministry! (more…)
As we take time to give thanks for our country and our freedoms, we also honor the flag which represents them. This year, Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma is working to create an “Avenue of Flags” which will line our Central Avenue, from the Main Gate to the Holy Cross Mausoleum on special days such as Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. We are seeking donations to provide enough flags to line the avenue. If you have received a flag honoring your loved one’s military service and would like to donate it to the cemetery to be flown as part of an “Avenue of Flags” on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day, please contact our office. A small identification tag would be attached to the flag in memory of your loved one. We think this will be a meaningful and personal way to honor our country and our veterans, and hope you agree. We are also happy to accept monetary donations which would enable us to purchase additional flags and flag poles.
As the country prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery will join thousands of Catholic Cemeteries across the United States in a national celebration, “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes.” This national program, developed by the Catholic Cemetery Conference, will honor those men and women who died while serving in the armed forces, as well as recognize both our active military and military veterans who have served our country.
At Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma, members of South San Francisco Girl Scout Troop #30348 will place American flags at the gravesites in the military section (Star of the Sea) in preparation for Memorial Day. On Monday, May 27th at 11am, Rev. Msgr. James Tarantino, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, will celebrate Mass at Holy Cross Mausoleum for all the faithful departed. The local celebration will also include the presentation of the colors by members of the Cesar E. Chavez American Legion Post 505 and the opportunity for cemetery visitors to remember loved ones by writing messages on tribute cards.
Also at 11am on Monday the 27th, Mass will be celebrated at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in San Rafael by Fr. Paul Perry and at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Menlo Park by Fr. Larry Goode. At 9:30am, Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic Cemetery in Half Moon Bay by Fr. Juan Lopez.
We hope you will join the Catholic Cemeteries in celebrating Memorial Day this year.
Quite often we hear people say, “I don’t want a funeral, I want a celebration of life. That’s what people are doing now.” Are more people having “celebrations of life” instead of “funerals”?
For a Catholic, the funeral is a profound celebration of life. The very first paragraph in the introduction to the Order of Christian Funerals says: “In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity.” We celebrate the life eternal promised to us. The introduction goes on to say, “Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.” We celebrate the life given to us. The Order of Christian Funerals talks about the importance of community, of consolation, of carefully selecting readings and music, of the involvement of the family in the planning. We celebrate together.
The holy season of Lent gives us an opportunity to relate closely to Jesus in His suffering and death. Throughout Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, there are places to meditate on the Way of the Cross. Stop by our office to pick up your Way of the Cross Prayer Guide and then spend time with the powerful paintings in Holy Cross Mausoleum, the beautiful carvings in All Saints Mausoleum or the striking mosaics outdoors in sections G2 and L2. Join Fr. Brian Costello, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Church, and the Holy Cross community for our First Saturday Mass on March 2 at 11am in All Saints Mausoleum. The Catholic Cemeteries are sacred places of prayer, meditation and reflection. Make us a part of your Lenten journey this year!
It seems that one of the most controversial sides of a cemetery has to do with decorations. Most active cemeteries have regulations about what can and cannot be placed on the graves and crypts. Even Dear Abby received a letter about this topic recently. The simplest explanation for the regulations cemeteries have is: safety and maintenance.
For example, we don’t allow candles with real flames on the graves. Believe it or not, we have had to put out fires, re-sod grass, and resurface headstones because of candles. Lighting a candle in memory of your loved one is a beautiful practice, but can be a dangerous practice outdoors in the cemetery. We have memorial candles available by the chapel in All Saints Mausoleum that are a lovely alternative. (more…)
Christmas is a time of memories . . . cemeteries are special places to relive and relate those memories, to tell family stories and to gather in prayer. On Saturday the 8th, we will gather at All Saints Mausoleum for our annual Christmas Remembrance Service. As we have for many years, once again we will provide paper ornaments on which you can write a loved one’s name or a message. These will be hung on the trees in the chapel. If you miss the Saturday service, please stop by our office for extra ornaments. The trees will remain up throughout the Christmas season in the Chapel. This year we also have a living Christmas tree in our office lobby. After the Christmas season, we will plant it on the cemetery grounds and so begin our new Memorial Tree program. This will be a lovely and earth-friendly way to memorialize your loved ones and to replace the many trees that we have lost over the years. Because Christmas is also a time for giving, our staff is collecting cans of tuna fish to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Mateo. They are in need of protein-rich food for their Homeless Help Centers. You’re welcome to drop off cans at our office and help to feed our neighbors. Our Holy Cross community extends to you and your loved ones our prayers for a blessed and peaceful Christmas season, filled with good memories!
We are approaching a very special, sacred time for our Catholic cemeteries, indeed, a very special and sacred time for us all as Catholics. Across our many cultures, languages and customs, the observances of All Saints and All Souls Days are constant in our faith tradition.
Todos los Santos, a feast dear to our Filipino community, will be celebrated at Holy Cross Mausoleum in Colma on Saturday, October 27 at 11am. Please make plans to join us! Bishop Justice will preside, along with many of our local priests. We will have food and fellowship in the tent outside following mass. This is a wonderful day to come together in prayer and to visit your family graves and share your family stories.
Friday, November 2nd, 11am will be the time for our Mass for the Feast of All Souls at All Saints Chapel, Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma. This Mass is offered for the souls of all those who have gone before us in faith, most especially those interred in the Catholic Cemeteries. Fr. Dan Carter and
the choir from All Hallows/Our Lady of Lourdes will be with us to celebrate. (more…)
One of the most common complaints we hear AND voice at the cemetery is about the geese and their droppings. Yes, we complain too! Who are these geese and why are they here? Canada Geese (their proper name) were considered threatened for many years by hunting and general population decline. They typically “summered” in Canada and headed south for the winter. Somewhere along the way, they discovered the year-round mild climate of places like California, and the very friendly confines of its golf courses, public parks AND cemeteries. Today, many Canada Geese are non-migratory, and we have seen that pattern increase over the years. As a protected wildlife species, we cannot harm the geese. Our only recourse is to make the cemetery seem uninviting to them. For a couple of years, we tried dogs. Every day, a local company would bring border collies to the cemetery to chase the geese away. The geese, being rather intelligent and adaptive creatures, (more…)
This week we celebrate our heritage of independence and
freedom. We honor our forefathers who crafted the idea and inspired the
heart of this country. And we express our gratitude, as a Catholic
people, for the gift of religious freedom.
There are so many places in the world today, and over the
centuries, where people have been forbidden to gather for worship, to proclaim
their faith, to display symbols of their religious beliefs.
We praise God for our freedom to gather in prayer for our loved
ones and to commemorate them in a way that reflects our faith in the life,
death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. (more…)