On June 27 and June 28, 2017, as part of the Diocesan Summer in the City Youth Program, high school students volunteered their time and talent at Sacred Heart Cemetery and Mausoleum located in Vineland, NJ. The youth, who were a little unsure about spending any extended time in a cemetery, walked away pleased with their work and happy that they had gained a better understanding of what perpetual care means when maintaining a cemetery. Nine high school students visited the cemetery during the two days and worked with cemetery staff to maintain the cemetery. They helped with planting shrubbery, weeding, trimming trees, watering trees, and cleaning the chapel mausoleum.
When the students arrived at the cemetery, they were greeted by office staff members who spoke about the Church’s teaching with regards to burials, perpetual care of a cemetery, and the proper handling of cremated remains. “Today you are going to perform the Corporal Work of Mercy of burying the dead; not by actually digging a grave and burying a casket, but rather by caring for the resting places of those who are buried here at Sacred Heart,” explained one of the cemetery staff members.
This experience intertwined the 4 Pillars of the Summer in the City Youth Program — Service, Spirituality, Community and Social Justice. The students, all of whom were agreeable, helpful and spirited, walked away with a clearer understanding of how caring for cemetery grounds brings consolation to visitors and shows respect for the deceased.
For more information about the Summer in the City Youth Program visit camdendiocese.org/youth-ministries