Bishop dedicates expanded Gate of Heaven Cemetery

Bishop dedicates expanded Gate of Heaven Cemetery

 

Bishop Dennis Sullivan and Father Michael Romano listen as South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries director Marianne Linka speaks at the dedication ceremony at the newly expanded Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Berlin on June 22. Below, the bishop blesses a crucifix on the grounds.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan and Father Michael Romano listen as South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries director Marianne Linka speaks at the dedication ceremony at the newly expanded Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Berlin on June 22. Below, the bishop blesses a crucifix on the grounds.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan and Father Michael Romano listen as South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries director Marianne Linka speaks at the dedication ceremony at the newly expanded Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Berlin on June 22. Below, the bishop blesses a crucifix on the grounds.

On June 22, Bishop Dennis Sullivan dedicated the expanded cemetery grounds of Gate of Heaven in Berlin. The expansion allows for approximately 8,000 additional graves, a chapel mausoleum and garden crypts.

In 2006, it was determined that the available grounds at Gate of Heaven Cemetery would be depleted by 2017. At that time plans began to be made on how to ensure that the cemetery would be able to carry on its mission into the future. When adjoining land went up for sale, the development of the expanded area began in earnest.

In addition to the gravesites, the new section, now known as Gate of Heaven East, also features a baby lawn and monument for the unborn, Veterans lawn and monument, and cremation garden and niches. At the dedication, South Jersey Catholic Cemeteries director Marianne Linka thanked the many people involved in completing the expansion and addressed the benefits of the additions.

“Knowing how a family grieves after losing a child prior to birth, we will now offer the opportunity to memorialize those children of God in the same lawn where babies and young children, having died too soon, are buried,” said Linka. “We’ve also set aside an adjacent lawn for parents who choose to be buried near their children.”

While veterans have many choices for burial, that choice is often difficult for many service members who wish to be buried with their fellow veterans but also in a Catholic cemetery. For the first time, “we have designated a lawn specifically for veterans and their spouses. While we cannot offer the free burials of a veterans’ cemeteries, our dedicated lawn will offer a discount to service members who choose to be buried in Gate of Heaven,” said Linka.

With more Catholics choosing the option of cremation, the cemetery will now feature a dedicated garden location. “A garden environment allowing for the burial of cremated remains in graves or entombment in niches was created to ensure that those choosing cremation have many options to fulfill their obligation to bring cremated remains to the cemetery,” said Linka.

Many families are often unsure regarding the handling of cremated remains. Catholics are required to treat these remains in the same respectful fashion as they would a body in a casket, in an appropriate vessel and entombed in a proper cemetery. As explained by Bishop Sullivan at the dedication, the function of the cemetery is to allow the body to lay at rest as we await the second coming of Jesus Christ when the body and soul will be reunified.

There are still a few additions waiting for arrival at Gate of Heaven East. While not yet installed at the time of the dedication, the cemetery also features monuments to the unborn and veterans. However, a new stone crucifix for the expanded cemetery was installed and on display for the dedication. All three monuments were donated by Al Kohlmyer and Ravelli Memorials.

Gate of Heaven Cemetery is located at 206 West White Horse Pike, Berlin. To learn more about this cemetery or any of the cemeteries in the Diocese of Camden, please visit SouthJerseyCatholicCemeteries.org.

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