On Wednesday, June 22, Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan blessed the expanded grounds of Gate of Heaven Cemetery located on the White Horse Pike in Berlin. While standing on the porch of the new office building, Bishop Sullivan begins the ceremony by greeting cemetery staff and guests saying, “This is a very important day in the history of this cemetery, where once again we have prepared a very suitable resting place for our loved ones and those who will be buried here.” All in attendance processed with Bishop to the Veterans Lawn where the ROTC Cadets from Sterling High School raised the American Flag for the first time. The ceremony concluded at the Crucifix statue, donated by Al Kohlmeyer — Ravelli Memorials, for the final blessing of the grounds. In attendance were families, clergy, local officials, veterans, and vendors.
New features include the first designated Veterans Lawn & Monument in recognition of those Catholics who have honorably served our country. Our military men and women and their spouse will have the opportunity to be buried alongside their fellow Catholic veterans in recognition of the sacrifices made in protecting our country. We are happy to offer our veterans pre-planning opportunities that provide many benefits such as discounts to veterans who choose to be buried in our Veterans Lawn.
In addition, a Baby Lawn & Monument for the Unborn is being offered where families will be able to memorialize those children who died prior to birth or who died shortly after birth. Marianne Linka, Director of Cemeteries for the Diocese, said, “Knowing how families grieve after losing a child prior to birth we are pleased to offer the opportunity to memorialize those children of God in the same lawn where babies and young children, having died too soon, are buried. It is our hope that this new lawn will give families a special and peaceful place to come together and honor their children.” Adjacent to the baby lawn is a parent section for those parents choosing to be buried near their children.
Lastly, with the rise in opting for cremation among our faithful, a garden environment allowing for the burial of cremated remains in graves or entombment in niches is being installed to ensure that those selecting cremation have many opportunities to fulfill their obligation to bring the cremated remains to the cemetery. Early August is the anticipated date for delivery of the columbarium – a structure with niches used to hold urns.
At the conclusion of the event, all were invited to partake in light refreshments and learn more by speaking with cemetery staff who perform the Corporal Work of Mercy of burying the dead not only during this Jubilee of Mercy but each and every year.
The expansion extends the life of the cemetery for the people in the surrounding communities by adding 8000 graves and space for the potential of a chapel mausoleum and garden crypts. South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries is excited to be able to make this vision, which began in 2006, a reality for you. Call us at 855-MyPrePlan for more information, or visit Gate of Heaven Cemetery at 260 W. White Horse Pike and see how beautiful our grounds are. Visit our website frequently, as updates regarding our expansion will be posted as they occur.