If you stroll the grounds of Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame in South Bend, you can’t help but be moved, touched by our great Catholic tradition. Lovely grottos, scripture verses, mosaics, and prominent statues of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints call out to us. They touch our hearts; they elevate us.
Closer to home in Mid-Michigan, take a walk or drive through St. Andrew’s Cemetery on Gratiot Avenue in Saginaw. Here you will discover that same strong Catholic tradition. As you enter the main drive and approach the center of the cemetery, you come upon a life-size representation of Jesus on the Cross, with Mary and the beloved disciple John on either side. Walk along the bricked pathway and experience the Stations of the Cross carved into pink marble. On the far left side, along the tree line, see the memorial to our Lady of Fatima, where a kneeler is placed, for those who wish to pause in quiet contemplation.
Surrounded by red burning bushes and two little white angels is a Resurrection Jesus memorial. And the angel statues throughout the cemetery are amazing. One points silently to the sky; another stands peaceful guard.
In fall, the cemetery is ablaze with reds and yellows and oranges. Autumn leaves blanket the paved roads in places, and flocks of geese wander the grounds. Throughout this holy ground, feelings of peace and tranquility abound.
Special tributes to loved ones catch your eye and stir you to silent prayer as you walk the St. Andrews’ grounds. The Garden of Angels, where infants have been lovingly placed by grieving parents and families, evokes a sweet sadness. Yet, not far away is the Sacred Heart statue, beckoning and saying, “Trust in Me.”
Here, at Saint Andrew’s Cemetery, Catholic families have entrusted their loved ones to rest in peace . Some markers in the cemetery are simple, some elaborate. Many recognize military veterans of various wars. From spring through fall, colorful flowers and balloons, rosaries, and keepsakes such as bracelets, coins and beer caps are left at gravesites, testimony to those who remember and pay respects to their dearly departed.
To support the Diocese of Saginaw in its maintenance of cemeteries such as St. Andrew’s, the Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan (CCFMM) oversees three funds designated for cemetery upkeep: Ave Maria Cemeteries Advised Fund for Lexington, Michigan, Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery Advised Fund for Saginaw, Michigan, St. Michael/St. Agnes Catholic Cemetery Advised Fund and the Charles and Victoria Salois Fund for St. Michael Cemetery, Pinconning, Michigan. Currently, CCFMM is working to secure bids to refurbish the central life-size statues of Jesus on the Cross with His Mother Mary and St. John standing beneath, as this grouping is crumbling and deteriorating near the base and the paint is peeling (see top photo).
You needn’t travel far to find a tranquil religious setting in our Saginaw Diocese. There are many. In particular, stroll or drive through beautiful, peaceful St. Andrew’s Cemetery and experience our great Catholic tradition, evident in Stations of the Cross, statues, mosaics, grave markers, and more. Take a few moments to rest in quiet contemplation, and please also consider making a donation to CCFMM to help expand efforts to maintain and preserve the wonderful St. Andrew’s Cemetery monuments, statues, and memorials.