Monsignor William F. Baver, Director of Cemeteries for the Diocese of Allentown since 1993, has been elected president of an international association of cemetery operators and suppliers, the Catholic Cemetery Conference.
Monsignor Baver, who has served the Conference in various executive posts over the past 28 years, is Pastor of Saints Simon and Jude Parish, Bethlehem, and Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Allentown.
You might say Monsignor Baver “wrote the book” on cemetery operations in the Diocese of Allentown when he created the Cemetery Administration Manual in 1997.
The Catholic Cemetery Conference performs a key role in educating the people who operate diocesan and parish cemeteries across the United States, and in Canada and Australia so they can care for the deceased and comfort loved ones at their time of loss.
The Conference organizes a variety of training and seminars on such topics as finance, land management, management and human resources, sales and marketing, technology, legal issues and theological matters related to cemeteries.
“Burial in the Catholic cemetery is a vivid reminder of the Resurrection that awaits each of us with the disposition of the body or cremated remains in a grave, niche or mausoleum,” Monsignor Baver said.
“Every burial in a Catholic Cemetery proclaims the sacredness of life. The buried or entombed remains are signs of meaningful acts of faith by the Christian community. We believe that life is not consumed by death. The Christian does not fear death but rather only the incompleteness of our life that only can be fulfilled in heaven.”
In the Diocese of Allentown, there are two diocesan cemeteries, Holy Saviour in Bethlehem and Resurrection in Allentown. In addition, 49 parishes operate 124 parish cemeteries.
All Souls’ Day on November 2, when we remember those who have died before us, is an excellent time to visit a cemetery and pray for the dead. In fact, a Catholic who visits a cemetery and prays for the dead during November will receive a plenary indulgence – an application of God’s Divine Mercy to remove the effects of past sin.
The first Sunday in November is “Cemetery Sunday,” a day set aside by the Conference to visit our loved ones interred and entombed at the cemetery.
Catholic Cemeteries are on ground that has been blessed and consecrated by a bishop or priest. In the Diocese of Allentown, the deceased may be buried traditionally, meaning below ground, or above ground in mausoleums. The cremated remains of the deceased also may be buried below ground, or above ground in special niches called columbaria.
For more information on diocesan cemeteries, visit www.AllentownDioceseCemeteries.org.