(SNR) - Lincoln's Catholic burial site, Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, has been undergoing a sizeable expansion project in recent months.
A large, new section for gravesites on the southern portion of the property has been graded and outfitted with curbed roadways, and a new entrance off L Street was added. Old roads were also resurfaced. The work was done with the help of general contractor Ayars & Ayars, Inc., of Lincoln.
"As we were running out of burial space in the other sections, it was necessary for us to develop this unused land," explained Father David Hintz, director of diocesan cemeteries.
The expansion will ensure that many more Lincoln-area Catholics and their family members will have a fitting burial place when their time on earth ends.
There are more plans for Calvary Cemetery. Next spring, the recently planted trees along the new entrance roadway will be complimented with new grass growing throughout the whole section.
Father Hintz said that the Babyland section will be expanded. A new priest's section will be established as well, since there is very little room remaining at "Priest's Point" at the Calvary monument in the center of the cemetery.
"We're also going to possibly add a section for veterans next to the new priests' section," Father Hintz revealed. This area will be developed to accommodate the annual Memorial Day Mass with more room, better sound, and better access along one of the newly paved roads.
Eventually, a statue of the Resurrection will be placed in the center of a circular garden that was created at the end of the new entrance path.
"We have a model that was executed by Sondra Jonson, but we will have to depend entirely on donations for that," Father Hintz said, noting that a loan from the Diocese's Investment and Loan fund was necessary to pay for the current expansion work.
Ms. Jonson, an award-winning artist who is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in Cambridge, has created several other bronze sculptures that have been installed in various locations of the diocese.
All these improvements are necessary because Catholic cemeteries are an important testimony of faith.
"Obviously, it's one of the corporal works of mercy to bury the dead," said Father Hintz. "Just as the early Christians did in the catacombs in order to honor the sacredness of the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is traditional to dedicate and consecrate land for the honoring of the deceased."
He noted that the entire tradition of praying for the dead was derived from the early Christians' habit of praying "in the vicinity of the body of the deceased."
For that reason, Calvary Cemetery hosts a monthly Mass for the souls of all those buried at Calvary. The Mass is celebrated in the chapel on the second Friday of each month, at 10 a.m.
"It's one of the unique services that we can offer in our Catholic cemetery," said Father Hintz. The cemetery staff also offers traditional services, such as preplanning.
Calvary Cemetery is located at 40th and O streets in Lincoln. There are entrances to the grounds from both 40th Street and L Street. For preplanning or other services, please call 402-476-8787.
Southern Nebraska REGISTER
By S.L. Hansen
— October 26, 2007
CALVARY CEMETERY - Statuary depicting the crucifixion of Jesus is a well-known landmark in the center of Lincoln's Catholic burial site, Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum. The cemetery has been undergoing a sizable expansion project in recent months. (Photo by S.L. Hansen)
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