Monday, September 24, 2012

CEMETERIES AND GRAVES AS SACRAMENTALS AND POINTS OF CONTACT WITH THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED

The Catholic Church has always believed cemeteries to be "sacramentals" of the mortal body awaiting the resurrection of the dead. Cemeteries are also great places for pilgrimage to visit our beloved faithful departed.

With so many people choosing cremation and then failing to give a proper entombment or Christian burial, I fear we may be losing the laudable tradition of visiting the dead at the cemetery and praying for the souls of the faithful departed. Cemeteries are a great place for a picnic too as one visits spiritually with one's deceased loved ones. The grave which is hallowed, is a point of contact with our beloved dead and again, a sacramental of their presence on earth.


My mother's fresh grave, next to my dad, at our family plot. My dad's marker has his date of birth as July 23, 1910 and date of death, December 25, 1987. My mom's will read October 18, 1919-September 18, 2012:

Westover Memorial Park is contiguous with the Augusta National Golf Course and the land has the same characteristics of contours as the course. In this photo beyond the hedge of trees, looking from my mom's grave is the Augusta Country Club's Golf Course which is right next and contiguous with the Augusta National, but is older than the Augusta National and has a storied history too.



Each Monday, when I am in Augusta on my day off at my mom's house, we normally have Chic-fil-A for lunch together at her house (carry-out). Today was no different! And what a glorious fall day for a picnic and prayers for mom and dad together again!





4 comments:

TCR said...

Father, we share a tradition. I regularly visit the graves of my mother, father, and brother in Marietta, usually with a little bag of Chick-fil-A and my rosary. Their section of the cemetery is entitled appropriately "The Garden of Christ." I find it a peaceful place of prayer and the Canada geese from the nearby lake join me sometimes...for the prayer or the Chick-fil-A!

-Brian said...

I spent almost a decade in the South Pacific, in my time with DOD, on the Island of Luzon, in the Philippine Archipelago. The Filipino culture celebrates all souls day with a picnic atmosphere such as you describe. People arrive at the cemetery all day long with meals and time to spend, candles and prayers, and articles of remembrance favored by the deceased such as songs, colors, and food. The sense that life is indeed eternal and that those who have passed away have done truly that (passed into heaven) and not disappeared into oblivion. It seems they make real the hope for eternal life. A marvelous message to bring us Father, thanks.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tradition. Sadly, the cemetery where my family members are buried is in a very bad part of town and the last time we visited it we were stalked by a suspicious character that hid behind bushes as he tried to advance on us. I would love to visit the cemetery but I am afraid to go without an armed guard.

Anonymous said...

A nice, concise catechesis about cemetaries as sacramentals.
And...thanks for sharing such a sweet persoanl memory and moment with us all.

What a role model you are.

~SL