Bishop Michael Olson blesses a new columbarium at Wichita Falls' Sacred Heart Cemetery
WICHITA FALLS — Bishop Michael Olson blessed a new columbarium at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Wichita Falls on Nov. 27.
Construction of the new columbarium was completed in early 2022. It was built with 392 niches on five panels, made of stone and granite. The center panel has a beautiful statue of the Pietà, the Blessed Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus before His burial, on top of it.
The land for the cemetery was signed over in 1907 to the Diocese of Dallas, which included Wichita Falls then, and the first burial took place in February 1908. All the Catholic parishes in Wichita Falls support the cemetery, but Sacred Heart staff members supervise it.
During his reflection on the Scripture readings before the blessing, Bishop Olson said it was important to remember that both our body and soul are created in the image and likeness of God.
“For what we see today, so too frequently is the mistreatment of the human body, even after death where the remains and cremains of people are turned into things like jewelry — that they are separated, kept in homes, and not rightly reverenced where they can await the resurrection,” said Bishop Olson.
“So, it’s particularly important for us as the Church to carry on this work of mercy for those who die and go before us — to visit the cemetery, to pray for the dead, and to console those of us who remain and to remind each other where our true destiny is. We believe in God’s love and providence. All buried here will rise again,” he said.
Father Jonathan Demma, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, thanked Bishop Olson for blessing the columbarium and for all his support.
“I wish to express my gratitude to all of those who made the columbarium possible to bring such beauty to Sacred Heart Cemetery and to honor the memory of our family and loved ones in such a dignified and faithful way.”
Many Catholics from the Wichita Falls area attended the event, including parishioners of Sacred Heart Church; Sacred Heart Parochial Vicar Father Jose Francis, TOR; Sacred Heart Deacon Manny Vasquez; and Father Joseph Moreno, pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus in Burkburnett, Christ the King in Iowa Park, and St. Paul in Electra.
Carol Schroeder, longtime Sacred Heart parishioner, said she and other Wichita Falls area residents really appreciated that Bishop Olson was able make the trip to the columbarium for this special occasion.
“The columbarium was much needed as more individuals are opting for cremation. The columbarium is beautifully designed, and the Pietà adds an element of peace and serenity,” she said.
Schroeder said she also appreciated Bishop Olson’s reflection on the Scripture and the importance of treating our loved one’s remains with dignity and respect.