POMONA, Calif. (FOX 11) - Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery transforms during Christmas. Instead of flowers, the grave sites are decorated with Christmas trees, garlands, nativity scenes and more.
The Calderas family made decorating their mom's plot a family activity.
Tuesday, they found the decorations dismantled and laid over the headstone...in a mess. Underneath the tree was a notice containing the rules for plot decorations highlighted.
Calderas admits the Christmas tree was three feet tall -- so slightly taller than allowed. But if that was a violation why do so many other gravesites have trees that tall or taller.
Alex Calderas is the named caretaker of his mother Mary's plot. She's been gone just over a year. He says the family got no notice that the decorations would be taken down.
We did find other plots where the decorations were taken down and plenty of others that seemed to be in violation of the rules but left standing.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles replied with this statement after our story aired:
Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries are committed to working closely with our families to allow certain decorations during the Christmas and Lenten season. We try to accommodate the requests of our families as best we can and relax our guidelines to allow for decorations otherwise not permitted throughout the year. These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of those who visit and maintain the cemetery, as well as to respect the sacred spaces of others buried at the cemeteries.
In this circumstance, it appears that the tree exceeded the allowed height requirements so most likely the groundskeepers placed the tree in the vase holder so it would be in compliance. This seems to have been a misunderstanding, and the regional director that oversees the cemetery will be reaching out to the family to address their concerns.
The care of our burial grounds is the utmost priority for our Catholic Cemeteries as a ministry of the Church. We want to assure our patrons that our cemeteries are committed to the steadfast care of the resting places of their loved ones.