12/29/2012 9:33:00 PM Catholic section added to cemetery
Photo by Alex Paul/Albany Democrat-Herald
Fr. Fred Anthony of St. Helen Church in Sweet Home blesses a section of Gilliland Cemetery.
Courtesy of Albany Democrat-Herald SWEET HOME — A section of Gilliland Cemetery has been dedicated and blessed for Catholic burials, the first time in its 158-year history.
Father Fred Anthony and Deacon Robert Malone blessed the site that overlooks Foster Reservoir and the entryway to the Cascade Mountains.
“A year ago, I noticed when we had funerals in Sweet Home and Lebanon there were no Catholic cemeteries or even sections set aside for Catholics,” Father Anthony said.
“Corvallis has one and other counties in the state have cemeteries or at least sections of cemeteries set aside for Catholics.”
The new section joins Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery in Jordan as Catholic-based sites. Father Anthony said Father Peter O’Brien of St. Edward Church in Lebanon supported the concept.
“I talked with the local cemetery district and they decided to open the section for us,” Father Anthony said. “They are offering reasonable rates and it’s a beautiful spot. I think this is a real asset to our parish and the cemetery district.”
During the dedication, Father Anthony noted, “This is a very special place. Do not let your hearts be troubled, death comes to everyone. Jesus has prepared a place for each of us. We shall be changed into a spiritual being. We are all elements of the earth. We are not lost or forgotten with death.”
He reminded those present that throughout the difficulties of life, “God promises that heaven is always available to us.”
Gilliland Cemetery was founded in 1854 and is operated by the Sweet Home Cemetery Maintenance District.
Cemetery district board member Mike Melcher said plots will cost $800 and there will be areas for both vertical and horizontal headstones.