Bishop blesses addition to Calvary Cemetery, Wichita

Bishop Michael O. Jackels blesses the addition at Calvary Cemetery, Wichita, Aug. 26. With him are Calvary Cemetery employees Donovan Bailey, center, and Chris Mattivi.

By Christopher M. Riggs
Summer is a busy time for cemeteries. This summer has been especially busy at the Wichita Catholic cemeteries.
Bishop Michael O. Jackels blessed an addition at Calvary Cemetery Wednesday morning, Aug. 26, and a large project was completed at Resurrection Cemetery last week.
During the blessing, about a dozen people heard Bishop Jackels say that he was reminded of the purpose of a cemetery when he pulled up and parked on the west side of the cemetery.
“I was a few minutes early and I had heard that some of the former bishops were buried here,” he said. “So I went over to the mausoleum, looked for their graves, their tombs, sat and thought of them and prayed for them. I tried to imagine myself resting next to them.”
A cemetery is a place for people to come to have some kind of contact with a departed family member or friend, Bishop Jackels said. “Something to remind them. Something to inspire a prayer – which is how I ended my little visit, praying for their happy repose and asking them to pray for me, that I might do as good of a job as they.”
After death, Bishop added, the body is not something to be discarded but to be treated with dignity. “This is a place of dignity and the beauty of this new section shows the dignity that all of us have with regard to the human body.”
Jim Sheldon, director of the diocesan cemeteries office, said about 450 grave sites have been added to Calvary Cemetery, Wichita’s oldest Catholic cemetery.
“We did it in response to requests from families,” he said, adding that the first burials there were in the late 1800s and that many families wanted to be buried near their loved ones there.
The diocese bought two houses and a vacant lot on the southwest corner of Calvary Cemetery for the expansion. The houses were razed and the area was landscaped for the addition which is about 250 feet long and 150 feet wide.
Sheldon said upright headstones will be allowed on every third row in the new area.

Greg Eck nudges one of 54 crypts installed at Resurrection Cemetery, Wichita, last week. Eck, grounds manager for the three Catholic cemeteries marked the crypts with spray paint after they were placed in a large pit. The crypts were later covered with soil. (Advance photos)

Resurrection Cemetery adds crypts
Fifty-four lawn crypts that hold two caskets each have been added to Resurrection Cemetery in west Wichita.
Workers finished installing the crypts last week at the northwest side of the cemetery, near the cemetery entrance.
Sheldon said by pre-burying the crypts saves some money for those being buried there.

Interested in a plot at the Calvary addition?
Jim Sheldon will be at Calvary Cemetery from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, for those who wish to see the expansion there.
For more information about any Wichita Catholic cemetery contact Sheldon at 722-1971.