Gardens of Gethsemani adding new infant area, more niches
By Josh Tng
(Photo credits: Sharalee Prang / Glass Canvas Media)
Catholic Cemeteries is in the process of expanding.
“We are always trying to work on projects that beautify the cemetery, or create new burial space,” said Catholic Cemeteries director Peter Nobes. Several projects are currently being worked on with that aim in mind.
Catholic Cemeteries is working on finishing a special niche wall to act as a burial compartment for cremated remains. “We are refurbishing the area around it,” Nobes said. The wall adds “more sacred burial space practically, but we always try to use our projects as an opportunity to beautify the grounds.”
The wall, expected to be completed by late April, will feature Stations of the Cross donated by the late Archbishop William Mark Duke, who served as Vancouver’s archbishop from 1931 to 1964.
“Part of our ministry at Catholic Cemeteries is land use,” said Nobes. “We need to be stewards of the cemetery property and think of ways to best use the property for our mission.”
Another project planned for the cemetery is a gazebo dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The structure will encompass the existing statue on the cemetery grounds and offer niches for further burial room.
The addition of burial space helps to pay for beautification and other improvements to the property, said Nobes. “It adds a nice place for people to pray, as well as a beautiful burial space.”
The cemetery is also preparing to expand the at-capacity Rachel’s Garden, where the cemetery provides free burials for children and infants. “To lose a child is literally to lose a part of oneself,” said outreach and community coordinator Terry Whiteley. “When parents suffer the loss of a little one, this is a way for us as a Catholic community to empathize and comfort them. We want to provide them a special place amid beautiful gardens where their child can be named, buried, and remembered.”
Parents who have lost a child go through “an emotional and difficult time,” said Nobes. The new Jesus and the Children Memorial Garden will offer parents “an outlet for their grief and a chance to memorialize the child.”
Groundbreaking for the new project, which will be larger than Rachel’s Garden, is expected to take place in May.
The cemeteries projects and services will be highlighted at the Gardens of Gethsemani open house April 21 and 22 from 9-5 p.m. For more information contact Whiteley at 604-531-2141 or visit rccav.org.