Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York


"To bury the dead" is a corporal  work of mercy – a work that has been part of the Church's mission since her  very beginnings.  Our Catholic cemeteries  offer our society today a much needed witness.   We witness to the sacredness of the human body that, when united to its  eternal soul, was a living temple of the Holy Spirit; we witness also to the  fact that God created us in His image and likeness not just to one day die but  to live with Him for all eternity.

The mission of Catholic  cemeteries is to constantly bring to mind that future of hope to which we as a  pilgrim people aspire – thanks to the grace of baptism which has made us  children of God and heirs to the promises of Christ.  In his recent encyclical, Spe  Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI urged that the Christian community – as a  counterpoint to the secularism of our age—rediscover this eschatological  perspective that has always been at the heart of the gospel proclamation.

Catholic cemeteries do just  that.  The funeral rites of the Church,  the memorial Masses offered for the deceased in the cemetery chapels, the  pastoral accompaniment of the bereaved, and internment or burial in "campo santo" strengthen the hope of the  living faithful that when they depart from this life, through the Mercy of God,  they too will be made worthy of the promises of Christ even as they pray for  their departed loved ones

-- Most Rev. Thomas Wenski

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