Ground broke last week on numerous developments at Queen of Peace Cemetery in Old Westbury, including the start of construction of a new chapel planned as the site’s centerpiece.
The management and board of directors of Catholic Cemeteries of Long Island hosted a special program marking the developments on Sept. 15 and were joined by Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop John O. Barres and local dignitaries from the Village of Old Westbury, as well as numerous employees and consultants.
CCLI, which owns and operates three other cemeteries across Long Island, including Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram and the Queen of All Saints Cemetery in Central Islip, claims that the Old Westbury area is the first new Catholic cemetery to open on Long Island in decades.
The 97-acre property was purchased in 1993, and the plans, which the company estimates will be finished in 2021, call for the construction of a chapel, administration building, mausoleums, and a maintenance building, according to president and CEO Richard Bie.
“Today is a historic and milestone moment for Catholic Cemeteries of Long Island,” Bie said. “This project has been a long time in the making and is the beginning of a new chapter of our mission to serve the Catholic families here on Long Island. We thank our Board of Directors as well as Bishop Barres and those at the Diocese of Rockville Centre for their support and encouragement as we make this vision a reality.”
Barres also spoke, blessing the cemetery with holy water and participating in the ground-breaking.
“This beautiful Catholic cemetery and our wonderful plans for it, is an expression of our belief in the triumph of the Holy Cross in our lives and in our families’ lives, especially at moments of death. And especially when people come to this sacred ground and eventually this beautiful chapel to express their faith,” Barres said. “Think of all the Catholics who will come here and will be moved by the chapel, statuary, and all the dimensions of religious art they will experience here.”
CCLI Chairman Richard Sullivan acknowledged the leadership of Barre’s predecessors, Bishops John R. McGann, James McHugh, and William Murphy over the years and the fine work of the Cemetery corporation management in bringing the project to this point.
“Now, building on all that went before, we are finally here today at the beginning,” Sullivan said. “For the glory of God and the comfort of his people – let us build.”
Joining Bie and Barres at the event were Richard Sullivan, CCLI’s chairman of the board, and board members Peter Quick, Gus Nuzzolese, Jim Folks and Doug Hayden.
The site has been prepared for construction and the first phase of the project, which includes the construction of the chapel, garden mausoleums, administration, facility, and maintenance buildings, is taking place now. This first phase of construction will continue for approximately the next 18 months.