"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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