From the Pastor: New Catholic Cemetery?
Is there ever good news about death (apart from Eternal Life, that is)? Today there just may be some. There has long been talk about the lack of Catholic cemeteries in our diocese. The only one that is open to all Catholics (some older parishes have private cemeteries in which only their parishioners may be buried) is located across the bay in Clearwater. It is a nice cemetery and I have been there numerous times from parishes farther away than this one, as people wanted to be buried in a Catholic cemetery rather than a Catholic section of a secular cemetery. Of course, the further the family lives from the cemetery, the less likely they are to visit the grave of their deceased loved ones. But there is a new Catholic cemetery preparing to open up on this side of the bay and it looks like it is less than 20 minutes from Epiphany!
The diocese sent me a link to Resurrection Cemetery (https://resurrectioncemeteryfl.com/) and I am passing it on to you. From what I can see, it will be in a very beautiful, wooded setting. One thing they don’t mention anywhere that I could find, though, is actually burials. They mention above-ground places for bodies and ashes, they show photos of buildings being built for such purposes, and they have plenty of images of heavy equipment clearing under and around trees to give way for roads and other unknown things. Perhaps there is not room for a “traditional” in-ground burial or perhaps it is swampy land unfit for digging six feet. Or maybe I just missed it. But read for yourself what they have on their site:
Resurrection Cemetery is more than a consecrated location for interment of our departed loved ones. The cemetery is a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, where mausoleums and cremation niches are sparsely placed within the natural wooded lands of a 120-acre nature preserve.
Phase one is currently under construction with 1,784 spaces for caskets and 1,776 niche spaces for cremains. Heritage structures are crafted of steel-reinforced concrete and clad with solid granite.
An on-site office is set to open, and the first mausoleums and niches are scheduled for completion by late Fall of 2022. Generous discounts are offered for purchases made prior to opening.
You might want to check it out yourself. The “generous discounts” part might be helpful for those who plan ahead, so don’t wait much longer to ask Terry Young (the director) any questions or even for a pre-opening tour. Here is his contact information:
How may we help you?
We would be delighted to answer any questions you might have regarding Resurrection Cemetery or if you would like to schedule an appointment to meet in person, you may contact Terry Young via our contact form, by telephone or email.
10668 E. Sligh Avenue
Seffner, FL 33584
This is the type of thing that the Diocese does with the money you send to what used to be APA and is now Catholic Ministry Appeal. It takes a lot of money to begin such a big project and the Bishop doesn’t have any way to finance such things without your generosity. Having a Catholic cemetery on this side of the bay will help Catholics for generations to come and your donations helped to make it a reality. (The north end of our diocese could use a Catholic cemetery or two also, but at least this is a good start.) With that segue into the CMA, let me remind you that we haven’t come anywhere close to meeting our goal yet this year. If you haven’t yet made a donation, please consider doing so soon so that you don’t forget. Giving to diocesan projects like the cemetery, seminary (sometimes indistinguishable!), charities, and other necessities, helps fulfill one of our basic Catholic precepts, to support the Church. If you remember a few months ago I mentioned that the Bishop didn’t see the progress he was expecting here in regards to the CMA donations and he asked that another letter go out with my signature on it asking you to give generously. I was told that those letters should be out either already or within a very short time. So don’t just toss it!
And, on the topics of Catholic Burials, donations, and precepts, remember that it doesn’t do you any good to have a nice grave if you don’t make it to Heaven. So keep working on all of the precepts, not just the one mentioned, love God and neighbor more and more each day, and always remember that by being fully, faithfully, and joyfully Catholic you will become a Saint!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka