2016-06-08 / Front Page

St. Michael’s Cemetery Dedicates Wall Of Remembrance


In the early 21st century, the management at St. Michael’s Cemetery began to notice an increase in genealogy research by families trying to find the location of deceased relatives. Increasingly, families wanted a way to memorialize members of their family that had been long forgotten. Due to the nature of the burials in the church lots, it was not possible to place headstones or other memorials. St. Michael’s built The Wall of Remembrance to honor those who were buried at the cemetery without a monument or memorial of any kind. 
Photo Vinny DuPre In the early 21st century, the management at St. Michael’s Cemetery began to notice an increase in genealogy research by families trying to find the location of deceased relatives. Increasingly, families wanted a way to memorialize members of their family that had been long forgotten. Due to the nature of the burials in the church lots, it was not possible to place headstones or other memorials. St. Michael’s built The Wall of Remembrance to honor those who were buried at the cemetery without a monument or memorial of any kind. Photo Vinny DuPre St. Michael’s Cemetery dedicated its Wall Of Remembrance on Saturday, June 4th. The memorial Blessing and Dedication was presided over by The Reverend Katherine Flexer, the Rector of St. Michael’s. She led the event in prayer and also was instrumental in orchestrating the entire program. Dennis Werner, General Manager at St. Michael’s explained the origins of the wall and the reasons for building it. Tony Barsamian, Queens Gazette publisher was the MC. The Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Bishop Suffragan, led the holy water blessing and was aided by Peter Ennis, Acolyte of the church. The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh, Associate Rector and John Cantrell, the choirmaster and organist, led the musical accompaniment. Councilman Costa Constantinides spoke of the integral role the Cemetery plays in the life of the community. He thanked the entire staff, including Rev. Flexer, Werner and Ed Horn, St. Michael’s Community Relations Director.


St. Michael’s Cemetery’s Wall Of Remembrance. 
Photos Walter Karling St. Michael’s Cemetery’s Wall Of Remembrance. Photos Walter Karling St. Michael’s Cemetery built The Wall of Remembrance to honor those who were buried at the cemetery without a monument or memorial of any kind. The wall is an expansive 10 feet high and 200 feet wide structure with over 4,000 names etched in honor and features Dakota Mahogany and Pearl Rose granite, custom built stone columns, a stamped concrete and brick paver walkway and custom granite benches for seating – all surrounded by a magnificent landscape. It also features a life-size granite statue of a praying woman placing flowers on a grave. This beautiful memorial was donated by St. Michael’s Church and Cemetery.


Rt. Rev. Allen Shin leads the holy water blessing of the wall. Rt. Rev. Allen Shin leads the holy water blessing of the wall. St. Michael’s Cemetery is owned by St. Michael’s Church at West 99th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. St. Michael’s Cemetery was founded in 1852 by The Rev. Thomas McClure Peters.

St. Michael’s Cemetery began to improve in the early 1990s and has since become a real asset to the community. In the early 21st century, St. Michael’s management began to notice an increase in genealogy research by families trying to find the location of deceased relatives. Increasingly, families wanted a way to memorialize members of their family that had been long forgotten. Due to the nature of the burials in the church lots, it was not possible to place headstones or other memorials.


(L. to r.); The Rev. Katherine Flexer, Rector of St. Michael’s; John Cantrell, the choirmaster and organist; The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh, Associate Rector; and Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. (L. to r.); The Rev. Katherine Flexer, Rector of St. Michael’s; John Cantrell, the choirmaster and organist; The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh, Associate Rector; and Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. In 2012, cemetery management began planning a large memorial that would become a sanctuary for those who were searching for long-lost relatives; a place to reflect on the memories of those that helped make this city and this country what it is today. One of those relatives was Pete Smith, currently residing in The Netherlands, who reached out to the cemetery in 2012 trying to locate his great uncle, James Hoffman. St. Michael’s was able to locate the records of his great uncle; however the family was hoping that there would be some memorial in the cemetery.


(L. to r.); Councilman Costa Constantinides; Peter Ennis, Acolyte of the church; Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Bishop Suffragan; The Rev. Katherine Flexer, Rector of St. Michael’s; Tony Barsamian, Queens Gazette publisher and the MC; and Dennis Werner, General Manager at St. Michael’s. (L. to r.); Councilman Costa Constantinides; Peter Ennis, Acolyte of the church; Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Bishop Suffragan; The Rev. Katherine Flexer, Rector of St. Michael’s; Tony Barsamian, Queens Gazette publisher and the MC; and Dennis Werner, General Manager at St. Michael’s. The cemetery staff informed Smith that they would be building a memorial wall and his great uncle’s name would be on it. When the wall was built and the inscriptions completed, they sent a picture of the completed wall to him and the following was his response:

“This is really great! After so many years of not knowing it means a lot to our family to have a place where he can be honoured. More than 72 years he didn’t have a name and was missing [sic] by his mother, father, brothers and sister and other family members. More than 72 years nobody knows what happened to him. With his name on The Wall of Remembrance, it feels like a kind of resurrection, it feels like he is back in the arms of our family. Thank you, thank you very much. On behalf of the Hoffman family, Pete.”

At the Blessing and Dedication it was revealed by GM Werner that Phase Two of the Wall will eventually result in more than 10,000 names listed as The Wall of Remembrance fulfills its role as an honor to those without prior recognition.

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.