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October 7, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
Blue Mass: blessing those who protect, serve
 
As bishop, a teacher welcomes
eighth-graders to cathedral
Like the diocese, cemetery
hits the half-century mark
 

The 50th anniversary event for Queen of Heaven Cemetery will include a special tribute to all the priests buried there.
Courtesy photo

When Bishop Floyd L. Begin presided at the blessing ceremony of Queen of Heaven Cemetery 50 years ago it marked another new chapter in the life of the young Diocese of Oakland. The new cemetery was the first Catholic cemetery to open in the San Francisco Bay Area in 50 years, joining the older diocesan cemeteries of St. Mary's in Oakland; St. Joseph's in San Pablo; and Holy Sepulchre, Hayward.

Queen of Heaven was opened to serve all Catholics in the Diocese of Oakland, especially those in Central Contra Costa County.

Although the new cemetery opened for interments on Feb.11 — the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes — the blessing ceremony didn't take place until May 19, 1963. Bishop Begin was assisted by Father James J. Wade, pastor at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, and Father Joseph P. O'Reilly, pastor of St. Anthony's Parish in Menlo Park, according to an article that appeared in the May 17, 1963 issue of The Catholic Voice.

 
Queen of
Heaven Cemetery


50th anniversary event

When: Oct. 19, 11 a.m.

Where: 1965 Reliez Valley Road, Lafayette

RSVP by Oct. 11 to 925-932-0900 or email to anae@cfcsOakland.org
 
The newspaper went on to report that the "minor ministers" for the ceremony would be the seminarians of Mount Mary Immaculate, Oblate Seminary for College Students, Lafayette. Father James P. McKay had been selected to preach the homily and the seminary choir of Holy Redeemer College, Oakland, under the direction of Father Richard Schiblin, CSSR, would sing. Members of the fourth degree Knights of Columbus in the area served as the "guard of honor."

Once, the cemetery property had been the site of a walnut orchard operated by the Haviside family. Part of that history remains in the form of the old Haviside family home, barns and old cottages that have been maintained over the years.

At the time it opened as a cemetery 7½-acres of the property, which was described as being located "among rolling hills and surrounded by greenery" had been developed. Plans called for the eventual development of 200 acres and each section of the cemetery would have a shrine and "only flush ground markers are permitted," according to the 1963 Voice article.

Queen of Heaven has had 14,447 interments to date, 360 in 2012.

The 50th anniversary event for Queen of Heaven Cemetery is scheduled for Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. and will include Mass, a special tribute to all the priests buried there as well as the grave of the first person interred there. A reception will be held following the Mass while a harpist will provide live music. The address is 1965 Reliez Valley Road in Lafayette.

RSVP by Oct. 11 to 925-932-0900 or email to anae@cfcsOakland.org.

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