After almost a decade of dreaming, planning and building, the magnificent Ascension Mausoleum at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery was Blessed and dedicated on August 29th. Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski and Archbishop Emeritus John C. Favalora, accompanied by the Reverend Fathers Jose Luis Menendez, Richard Vigoa, Thomas Wisniewski, Israel Mago, Christopher Marino, Monsignors William Hennessey, Tomas Marin, Terence Hogan, and Roberto Garza, concelebrated the first Eucharist in the chapel under the brilliant light of a 2 -story stained glass cross.
By blessing and sprinkling Holy Water throughout building, the final resting place of twenty one thousand faithful souls was symbolically added to the consecrated ground of this esteemed Catholic Cemetery.
Through the rites of anointing, incensing, setting, and lighting the altar we express in visible signs several aspects of the invisible work that the Lord accomplishes through the Church. We honored the time long Roman Catholic tradition of placing a relic of a saint or martyr within the altar in the disposition of the relic of Pope Saint Pius X, given to the cemetery by Archbishop Wenski. Born Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto on June 2, 1835, Pope Saint Pius X served as the 257th Pope. His most important reform was to order the codification of the first Code of Canon Law, which collected the laws of the Church into one volume for the first time. He was canonized on May 29th, 1954.
The veneration of relics of saints comes from the early church. In the early years of the Church in Rome, during the persecutions, Christians would meet in the catacombs. These catacombs housed the tombs of Christian martyrs and therefore Mass was celebrated on their tombs. This practice grew into veneration, or a reverence of the saints as a reminder that God worked through them and their deaths. Thus, the practice of keeping a reminder of saints in altars was begun.
McCleskey Mausoleums, builder of the Ascension Mausoleum – the largest single-unit and most impressive mausoleum in the United States – has been dedicated to the implementation and completion of this project and fully committed to providing the highest quality in memorialization. The McCleskey team, partnering with the purveyors of the finest in Italian marble, stained glass artisans, mosaic artists and sculptors created a museum quality structure for the aesthetic and spiritual delight of those who will come to visit.
Guests and honored dignitaries were invited to a celebration reception hosted by McCleskey Mausoleums after Mass.