Sunday, November 20, 2022

Bishop Barron reconsecrates cemetery vandalized on Halloween

 One or more vandals desecrated a Catholic cemetery in Rochester, Minnesota, on Oct. 31, 2022, Halloween night. Courtesy of Calvary Cemetery

Bishop Robert Barron of Rochester, Minnesota, has reconsecrated the diocese’s Calvary Cemetery after one or more vandals damaged the grounds with obscene and satanic graffiti.

“Halloween night, this place was desecrated with some really obscene graffiti,” he said ahead of the ceremony Nov. 11. “Even the name of Satan invoked. I found that outrageous.”

Five memorial walls in the cemetery were heavily covered with blue and brown graffiti, the Diocese of Rochester reported. Two grave markers, a statue of Christ, and a cross were covered in graffiti. 

The cleanup and repair costs could go as high as $8,000.

Photos of the graffiti show vulgar messages and the words “In Satan we trust.” According to KMT3 News, the vandals have not yet been identified.

Barron’s reconsecration was joined by many Catholic laity and seminarians

“Thanks to the crew here who did a really marvelous job cleaning up,” Barron said at the cemetery. “But I think we need to do some spiritual cleaning as well to restore this place, which is meant to be a place of peace and prayer where we honor those who lie here.”

A video posted to Barron’s YouTube channel Nov. 12 shows him conducting the rite for reconsecrating a profaned cemetery. It included praying the litany of the saints, a reading of Psalm 50, and the sprinkling of holy water across the grounds of the cemetery, especially those places where the deceased were profaned.

He prayed that God “deign to purify and to reconcile this resting place of your pilgrims, who look for a haven in the heavenly kingdom.

“May you finally awaken the bodies of those who are, or will be buried here, by the power and glory of your resurrection, to incorruptible glory.

“Call them forth not to condemnation but to unending happiness,” he said. “We ask this of you who are coming to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.”

Barron condemned the vandalism and voiced support for the families affected.

“This vandalism is an affront to not only common decency but to those families who, as a work of mercy, placed the remains of their loved ones in a place where prayers could be offered and their memory could be cherished,” he said in the description of his YouTube video.

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