The Cemeteries Department at the Diocese of Orange, under the guidance of its director Michael Wesner, proudly manages four active and two maintained cemeteries in Orange County. The department follows its mission, “to serve the people of God in the name of the Bishop of the Diocese of Orange and to affirm the Church’s faith and belief in the hope of the Resurrection.”
There are two new updates to share.
The first is a cenotaph project that was recently completed in March. At Catholic and non-Catholic locations around the country, cenotaphs have been erected to memorialize those whose ashes were scattered in various places, such as at sea. An opportunity became available on the Christ Cathedral Campus to erect a cenotaph wall called Cathedral Memorial Wall to honor “The Glorious Dead.”
Wesner and his department were aware of a container that enclosed utility equipment, across from the Crean Tower on Christ Cathedral campus. After discussions and planning, it was determined that this enclosure could serve a dual purpose of constructing an eye-appealing area and erecting a cenotaph wall, with room for 3,600 names, birth and death dates.
Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector Emeritus and Sacred Arts Advisor to the Diocese, chose the following scripture, to adorn the black granite panels:
“I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am, you may also be.” (John 14:3)
According to Wesner, the sale process will begin on April 1. Inscriptions will take place once per month. The Cathedral Memorial Wall will give families a place to honor, pray and remember their loved ones.
The second major project under the direction of the Cemeteries Department, will center on Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach. The three additional active Catholic cemeteries in Orange County are Holy Sepulcher in Orange, Ascension in Lake Forest and Cathedral Memorial Gardens, located on the Christ Cathedral Campus.
In addition to being the largest of the four cemeteries, Holy Sepulcher also accepts abandoned cremated remains uncovered by family members or friends. Both “inactive” cemeteries, Holy Cross Cemetery in Anaheim is maintained by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and The Old Mission Cemetery in San Juan Capistrano is maintained by the Diocese of Orange.
The new project at Good Shepherd is scheduled to begin in May or June. The project will be completed in approximately 12 months from the starting date. The project will be three-fold with work efforts beginning with statues of the Holy Family and St. Joseph being erected.
Eight hundred and fifty traditional burial spaces will be designated, along with cremation niches, which are above-ground niched into a wall.
“The large number of cremation niches were a necessary addition due to the increased wishes of the deceased to have this form of burial,” said Wesner. “The percentage of traditional burials and cremations will be close to equal by the time this project is completed.”
For more information, visit https://www.occem.org/ or call 714-489-6102.