Group dedicates time, money to cleaning up Jesuit graves at Concordia

Concordia Cemetery
Positively El Paso

POSTED: Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 3:14pm

UPDATED: Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 10:37pm

A recent trip to the cemetery has one El Paso man up in arms. Rick Melendrez visited grave sites at Concordia Cemetery on the Dia De Los Muertos, and he can't believe what he found.

The Jesuit Garden of Concordia Cemetery is where twenty eight priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus are buried. Many of them are considered founders of El Paso. One El Paso man says they aren't getting the respect they deserved.

Concordia Cemetery, in central El Paso is the final resting place of war heroes, civic servants and those are who considered founders of the city. Among the sixty thousand graves here, sits the plot known as the Jesuit Garden.

"The Jesuits are a priesthood. I consider them to be the Cadillac of priesthood." Melendrez said.

When Melendrez visited these graves on Day of the Dead, he was shocked. "I saw how neglected the plot was, so I said little by little, I'm going to clean this up."

His goal was to have the plot ready by Christmas, which is no easy task by himself. So Melendrez reached out online and he is now inviting the community to come out and help.

"These men have no one,  yet they do have someone. They have us. That is why we are here. We are going to clean and restore the Jesuit Garden," Melendrez said.

Melendrez and the rest of the clean-up crew are going to remove about four inches of dirt from this gave site and move to to other sites around the cemetery. They will replace the dirty with a symbolic red rock.

Melendrez explained,  "This red rock, we call it Jesuit red rock, and we are going to lay this here in honor of Father Carlos Pinto. Father Carlos Pinto built many churches here that were red brick. We are doing that in honor of him."

Father Pinto built Sacred Heart Church and Immaculate Conception Church in Downtown El Paso. Melendrez says it is an honor for him to help clean up the Jesuits' resting place. "They deserve better, they dedicated their lives to us. They deserve a final resting place that is respectful and beautiful."

International Laundry and Supply is going to donate the landscaping materials. If you would like to join to clean up they will be at Concordia Cemetery from Saturday morning at 9 a.m.. until 2 a.m.. Sunday morning.

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