Record Staff Report
Catholic Cemeteries will once again provide a live, outdoor Christmas tree where the public is invited to hang ornaments in memory of their departed loved ones. The tree is located inside the main entrance of Calvary Cemetery, 1600 Newburg Road.
The evergreen “Tree of Remembrance” will be available for hanging ornaments beginning on Dec. 1 during a 6:45 p.m. prayer service and tree-lighting ceremony with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Gates will open at 6 p.m.
“This is a way to remember the people who came before us, and we remember them for the rest of our lives,” said Javier Fajardo, director of Catholic Cemeteries. “It’s a part of the grieving process to be able to put an ornament with someone’s name to keep that memory alive.”
He noted that last year more than 400 ornaments were placed on the tree and about 300 of them were complimentary ornaments provided by the cemetery. People may place their own ornaments on the tree or use a free personalized ornament provided by the Catholic Cemeteries office.
“We got a great response last year,” Fajardo said. “I got more kisses and hugs than ever before in my life. I think people realize we care for them and we try to do things to help remember their loved ones.”
Catholic Cemeteries has other remembrances throughout the year. On Mother’s Day, the cemetery provides roses for visitors to place on the graves of loved ones and on Memorial Day the cemetery provides small flags.
The free ornaments will be placed by the tree during the Dec. 1 prayer service. Thereafter they will be available in the office.
The public may add ornaments throughout Advent and Christmas. They will remain on the tree through Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany.
This opportunity is available to all, regardless of when or where their loved one is buried.