Visitors to the new mausoleum at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, L.I., are immediately greeted by a beautifully carved statue of Christ the King, for whom the building is named. The statue is the work of DeMetz Art Studios in Italy and is one of two pieces from there to grace the new mausoleum. The other is a depiction of Mary.
The Christ the King Mausoleum was dedicated Nov. 2, the Feast of All Souls, by Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto following the annual Field Mass that was celebrated under a large white tent erected for the event.
Bishop Chappetto, as he thanked the hundreds who attended, told the members of the congregation that it was obvious they were not alone in their loss of loved ones.
“The support that you give to one another is incredible and beautiful,” he said.
While he acknowledged that there is always a sense of loss and a void when a relative or friend dies, Christians are consoled by belief in eternal life.
He quoted Jesus in the Scriptures, “He who believes in Me, even though he dies, shall live forever.”
“We too will rise,” said Bishop Chappetto. “That’s the bottom line of our lives, that life continues beyond the grave.
“On All Souls’ Day, we thank God for our faith,” said the Bishop. “Hope will never leave us disappointed. It will lead us to the Kingdom of God where all those who have gone before us have preceded us.”
Bishop Chappetto expressed his thanks to the staff of the Office of Catholic Cemeteries for the way they care for the grounds of all the diocesan cemeteries and respect the presence of all their visitors.
Msgr. Michael Reid, spiritual moderator to the Cemeteries Office, added that “it is through our broken hearts that Jesus most easily enters into our lives.”
Memorial Masses were celebrated at five diocesan cemeteries by the auxiliary bishops of Brooklyn and Queens. Hundreds traditionally attend as they pray for and visit the graves of their loved ones.
Jerome Phillips and his wife, Wesleen, members of St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise parish in Crown Heights, try to be there every year. “We have two daughters – Janelle and Christine – buried here,” said Jerome, who was an active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “We try to get out here on anniversaries and on All Souls’ Day.”
Following Mass, Bishop Chappetto led a procession from the tent to the new mausoleum, where he incensed and sprinkled holy water during the dedication ceremony.
The Christ the King Mausoleum has room for almost 5,000 bodies and cremains in its airy and beautifully lit surroundings. Of particular interest are two stained-glass windows, one depicting the Church Militant and the other, the Church Triumphant. Originally installed in 1930 in the receiving vault at St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, the windows have been in storage for several years since the building was razed.
For more information about diocesan cemeteries, log on to www.ccbklyn.org.