Those with loved ones interred in Our Lady of Victory Cemeteries No. 1 and No. 2 may have noticed colorful pieces of paper attached to headstones throughout the grounds where family and friends are remembered.
These standout pieces of color are reminders of another sort, however: of the rules and regulations by which the cemetery abides and a notice that one or more of those rules is being violated.
The notices begin ... “The purpose of this notice is to inform you that one or more of the items listed below does not adhere to the regulations of the diocese of Corpus Christi and the rules and regulations of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church Cemeteries No. 1 and No. 2.” The notice goes onto say that if said items are not removed soon, a member of the cemetery committee or designee will remove them.
Some of the activities and/or items prohibited include:
• No planting of trees or shrubs, glass containers, rocks, lights, ceramic pots, statues
• No benches at the gravesite
• No dumping
• No alcoholic beverages
• No use of cement slabs/covers, aggregate materials (rocks), bricks, curbing, metal hooks, signs and other materials.
The notice also explains that, since the items are prohibited, the cemetery is not responsible for any replacement costs or repairs.
The notices have prompted questions from family members who have loved ones interred there, with some left wondering what prompted the seemingly sudden change in standard.
The cemeteries and their upkeep are the responsibility of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church and spearheaded by a cemetery committee.
According to the committee, a recent near accident to one of the groundskeepers regarding one of the items in violation has prompted the committee to take a firmer stance in enforcing the rules and regulations which, they said, they have been lax in doing in the past.
“There are two large signs coming into the cemeteries that show the regulations,” said cemetery committee member Laly Arteaga.
“(The close accident) really brought it to our attention,” said Arteaga. “Someone could get hurt, and no one wants that.”
Father Isaias Estepa, who became the church’s new priest in July, replacing Father Luke Thirunelliparambil (who had been with the church for 19 years), told the committee members that the church needed to “take action” on the violations after hearing of the near accident.
“It may seem that these rules and regulations are a departure from the allowances of the past,” the notices continue, “but our regulations will be enforced to maintain the safety of all concerned and the purity of our cemeteries.”
Arteaga also lauded, on the cemetery’s Facebook page, a group of five people who showed up on a recent Saturday for a cleanup day.
“There is still a lot to be done as you can see,” comments from Arteaga’s post read.
“With just a few volunteers it’s hard to get done all at once. Community members that come up with solutions and volunteers are appreciated.”
“Community awareness is the first step.”
Anyone with questions regarding the notices or wanting to volunteer to help can call the church office at 361-358-0088 Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.