Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Saints All Souls Day Reflection on the Tombs of New Orleans

This is was a very nice article by Fr. Kurt Young for All Souls and then All Saints day regarding the above ground tombs in New Orleans.

This aspect of our Catholic faith has always had a very special significance for me, and I would dare say for most New Orleans Catholics. Everyone, Catholic or not, who has been to New Orleans even for a short trip is most likely familiar with the great “cities of the dead,” which flank either side of I-10 in New Orleans. For those of you who are not familiar with the term “cities of the dead,” I am referring to the impression of a city that is created by rows upon rows of above ground tombs which are more or less ornate depending on the sections of the cemetery through which one is traveling at a given moment. Lending to this notion of a city is the fact that the rows of tombs are separated by street names complete with signs and all.

While driving past these “ghostly ghettos,” I am always struck with the beauty of the fact that these cemeteries have become an integral part of the culture of New Orleans. Anyone driving in or out of the city from the West is bound to pass by this area on a daily basis, and each trip provides one, either consciously or subconsciously, with a reminder of his or her own mortality. Yet this reminder is not something which causes anxiety for the average New Orleanian, rather this reminder is a common occurrence, which should strengthen one’s appreciation for this life when approached in faith. One of the many great characteristics of New Orleans is the fact that the people here love to celebrate life, and I would like to imagine that these “cities of the dead” play no small part in this reality in some way. Although New Orleans Catholics do indeed celebrate life, we also understand that this world is not the end, but rather, it is a preparation for the eternity which awaits us.

Read it all.

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