By Loci B. Lenar
On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the Catholic calendar, the Easter Season begins with the celebration of the Easter Vigil and ends 50 days later on Pentecost Sunday. It’s also an appropriate time to remember our loved ones who have passed away.
During the Easter season, I decided to visit the Gate of Heaven. Both my parents are desceased and were laid to rest more than 20 years ago in the Catholic cemetery, which is located on 225 Ridgedale Avenue in East Hanover, NJ. In our family, my father and mother are the only two that are buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
This year was more difficult than before, because my brother, Frank, passed away on April 9 from his battle with cancer.
During my visit, I went into Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel, which can be found inside the mausoleum. The chapel has a new beautiful mosaic of Pope John Paul II and Our Lady of the Rosary. The image is magnificent to say the least. The chapel also has a display of the Stations of the Cross and pays respect to all who have passed away.
I lit an electric votive candle and prayed to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to Our Lady for the souls of my parents and brother. I also remembered through prayer, my nephew, Lance, and my brother-in-law, Joe, both who have passed away as well. I also prayed for members on my wife's side of the family and for the souls of the departed.
In Revelation 21:1-7, God reminds us of the following scripture: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children."
Through scripture, God the Father reassures us of eternal life. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we become heirs to the Heavenly Kingdom. Our lives on earth are a stepping stone to God's greater plan. A plan which joins are spiritual being with God's love and everlasting peace as we enter through the Gates of Heaven. God awaits us with open arms and embraces everyone that believes in His promises.
God's word resonates through the gospels of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the following scripture:
In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Through Jesus Christ, we are raised on the last day to eternal life. What a great promise of an inheritance to hold dear to our heart!
The chapel is a place of worship and gives reverence to all who have passed away and entered into the Kingdom of God through the Gates of Heaven. The mausoleum is enormous and has many places to sit and pray for loved ones. It’s beautifully designed with mosaic art and stained glass windows of Jesus and Our Lady. There is also several stained glass windows of saints, including St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini as well as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
On Saturday, May 22, 2010 a dedication service will be celebrated with Mass for the new expansion of the mausoleum. The servce will be held inside Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel. Holy Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop John J. Myers. For additional information, call 877-301-3372.
Photographs Copyright 2010 Loci B. Lenar