Holy Sepulchre Roman Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum is the parish cemetery of Saint John The Baptist Church in Paterson, New Jersey.   The cemetery has existed since the early 1840's with roots in the original cemeteries in Paterson.

outside1Why Catholics are Buried in Consecrated Ground - by Fr. Ralph Argentino

A Catholic Cemetery is more than a place for the burial of the dead.  It represents the continuation, even in death, of the harmony and spiritual alliance which makes all Catholics members of one great family, thereby constituting it an actual family plot.

The early Christians wished to separate themselves definitely from the pagans and consequently make provisions for the burial of their dead in a manner befitting the beliefs of the infant Church.

The testimony of the Acts of the Apostles and of such other writers as Tertullian (160-220 AD), proves not only the existence of a definite burial ritual, but also the observance of the regular anniversaries of the dead.  Since pagan law gave a certain amount of protection to the burial places of all peoples, even criminals, it was comparatively easy for the early Christians to develop their burial customs according to the religious belief which the Church, even at that early age, demanded.  Thus Catholic Cemeteries were born and continued to be created up to and including the present day.

There are basically only two places that the Catholic Church consecrates as Holy Ground and those are a church and a cemetery.

The consecration of a cemetery is an extremely ancient custom of the Church.  It can be traced back as far as Saint Gregory of Tours (d 593 AD).  The ceremony was a development from the ritual prescribed in the early pontifical (ritual ceremonial books).

In some non-Catholic cemeteries today, a section may be designated as the "Catholic Section" but this is very misleading for obvious reasons.  Only a Catholic Bishop can designate and consecrate a cemetery as Holy Ground within the Diocese of which he is the Bishop.

The demands of the Church are based upon teachings which make it clear that burial in a Catholic cemetery was not a holy privilege, but also a requirement which was dispensed with from time to time.  The members of the Church living and dead are a part of the body of the same Church, united by a common head, Jesus Christ, into a confraternity which is without the limit of time...

The cemetery is sacred not only because of the consecration but because it holds the relics of many who are already enjoying the Beatific Vision (moment the soul passes into the glory of Heaven and sees Jesus face to face).

It is our duty and right as an expression of our religious freedom in the United States of America that we be allowed to establish Holy Ground to bury our dead where possible, with all due respect to the provisions that civil law imposes.

Catholic Cemetery, Vol. 53, No. 10, October 2013.



Holy Sepulchre Cemetery is the final resting place for some notable names in our history.


John P. Holland, famous for inventing the submarine.  He spent 57 years working with submersibles.  His first submarine, Fenian Ram, was launched in 1881 and is presently preserved at Paterson Museum in Paterson, New Jersey.


Mychal Judge, O.F.M., a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest who served as chaplain to the New York City Fire Department.  On September 11, 2001, Father Mychal Judge ran into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Tragically, he became the first recorded victim of the terrorist attacks.


Rose Gorga, at 108 years old, she was considered the oldest female American veteran of World War II.  She enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in 1944, and believed it was important to serve her country.  She was an honorary life member of the American Legion.



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