There were celebrations at St John XXIII Parish Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens on Saturday 11 May, when Parish Priest, Fr John McSweeney, blessed and officially inaugurated the parish Garden of Remembrance and Columbarium.
“This is the culmination of over a year of planning, fundraising and construction. The Garden of Remembrance and Columbarium will provide restful and respectful surrounds for the remembrance of our loved ones and the preservation of their mortal remains,” Fr John said.
He noted a number of benefits: “It means that those parishioners who choose to be cremated are able to be laid to rest in the parish grounds, surrounded by the parish family whom they loved and who loved them in return.
“For family members, it means that their loved ones will still be very much part of their worship life, as the rear windows of the church overlook the columbarium gardens. Also, they will have the comfort of knowing that their loved ones have been laid to rest in sacred ground, and that they can easily drop by for a visit at any time.
“The columbarium will add another dimension to the faith and worship life of the whole parish. Being in communion is at the heart of our Catholic faith. We become one body in Christ at Baptism and we continue sharing that common life forever, beyond death. We are aware of this connectedness with one another every time we say in the Creed. ‘I believe in the Communion of Saints.’ We speak of this community each time we pray at Mass when we pray for the living and the dead ‘who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy’,” Fr John said.
Burying the dead is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy and members of the Church in Purgatory, also known as the ‘Church suffering’, need the prayers of Church members on earth. “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” (2 Maccabees 12:46).
Pope Francis has made it clear that while cremation is permitted, ashes cannot be divided among relatives or preserved in a home, nor is it permitted “to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewellery or other objects.” (Ad resurgendum cum Christo, 2016).
Columbarium Manager, John McCartney, said that the first two walls of niches have already been sold out. “The walls commemorate our parish patron, St John XXIII and diocesan patron, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop,” he said.
“We anticipate an increase in cremations as the cost of burials rises and as cemetery land becomes increasingly scarce. To cater for this, four additional walls have been constructed, commemorating Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We invite members of our neighbouring parishes to enquire about purchasing a permanent resting place for themselves or their family on church ground.”