By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
It is August and we are coming to the end of a long, hot summer. What else is new in Texas?
During this time many people have taken their vacations. Many have taken trips. We rejoiced in the rains of May and June, but the high waters ruined a lot of plans. The Texas Catholic newspaper geared back to one issue per month; but things have continued to happen.
Nearly every week there was an event or a crisis which set my mind to the task of creating a column on the subject, but soon something else arose and my thoughts went unpublished! However, I am not bummed out as something new just came up to grab my attention.
It seems that some people in Farmersville have decided that they do not want a Muslim Cemetery to be established near their community. Recently, a town hall meeting was held to discuss the pros and cons of the situation. I am sure the facts will eventually bring out a solution.
But our local history needs to be examined. There was a time when Catholics and Jews were not considered to be worthy of sharing a burial space within the boundaries of the local cemeteries. There was a time when Dallas did not want black freedmen to be resting in peace with their former owners (that is what RIP stands for: requiescat in pace).
We still have these historic Jewish, Catholic and Freedman Cemeteries close to the center of old Dallas. They are peaceful places to visit and to meditate upon the absolute finiteness of life.
But history also reminds us that thoughtlessness does reign too often in Texas. Back in the days of the construction of our first freeway, now called Central Expressway, the route from downtown to the North smashed right through the Freedman Cemetery. Graves were bulldozed and markers were lost and relics were scattered.
Thanks be to God that in the last widening of said expressway, the great state of Texas’ highway department realized that destroying gravesites is an ugly thing. They spent a ton of money to carefully and faithfully replace the graves of the resting ones and relocate them before construction began.
An excellent monument was placed so that anyone who was visiting the Jewish or the Catholic (Old Calvary) or the Freedman’s Cemetery could sit and rest for a brief while with their memories of beloved ancestors.
Today is an excellent time to visit that place to remember we all are God’s children who are called to love and to respect each other.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.