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Friday memorial will honor immigrants who died in desert

November 01, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — Unidentified immigrant men and women who died while crossing the desert will be remembered here Friday.

To commemorate All Souls Day, two Catholic churches, St. Anthony's of Imperial and St. Joseph's of Holtville, will honor the memories of the unidentified immigrants buried at Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville.

At 11:15 a.m. members of those churches, as well a group from the Office for Social Ministry from the Diocese of San Diego, will decorate the graves of the more than 100 unnamed men and women buried there. Thirty were buried this year, six just a few weeks ago.

The indigent section of Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro was filled five or six years ago. A new section was opened to the north of the Holtville cemetery several years ago to accommodate the growing need for space.

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"Maybe their families are still waiting for a phone call or a visit that will never come," said the Rev. Cecilio Moraga of St. Joseph's. "Catholics remember the dead on All Souls Day, which is Friday. This is expected to become an annual activity."

Those taking part in the ceremony will place marigolds, painted sugar skulls, breads and other items on the graves. Those interested in bringing their own decorations are welcome to do so.

The participants will meet at the entrance of the cemetery. The decorations will be blessed and carried in a procession to the indigent section. Numbered bricks and handmade crosses with the inscription "no olivados" (not forgotten) are the only markers on the graves.

While the graves are being decorated, the Spanish choir of St. Joseph's will lead the group in singing traditional Mexican songs of farewell.

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