The Crusader Newspaper Group

Archdiocese of Chicago and Cook County officials to unveil graveside monument for indigent, unknown and unborn persons

The Archdiocese of Chicago and Cook County officials will unveil a black granite monument that will mark the gravesites of indigent, unidentified and unborn persons during a committal service at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 2755 W 111th St., on July 13 at 2 p.m. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President, will gather alongside Cook County Commissioners, local funeral directors and volunteers during the ceremony.

“In the Catholic tradition, it is a corporal work of mercy to bury and pray for the dead,” said Cardinal Cupich. “This monument not only identifies the gravesides of Cook County’s unidentified, unclaimed and unborn persons, it commemorates the lives of the deceased and demonstrates that every life is valuable and everyone’s death should be recognized and honored.”

Cook County, through the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, is entrusted with the final disposition for the indigent deceased in the County, unidentified deceased and fetal remains.

“We may not know the stories or the challenges of the people we will bury, but each person was a member of our community ― a friend, a neighbor, a son, a daughter,” said President Preckwinkle. “This monument is a symbol of our community coming together to care for one another.”

The committal service will include burial of five unidentified persons, 80 indigent persons and 24 unborn persons. Local funeral directors and other volunteers will accompany each decedent at the service and stay until the burial is complete. Father Lawrence Sullivan, interim director of Catholic Cemeteries, will preside over the service with Cardinal Cupich leading the blessing of caskets and monument. President Preckwinkle will offer remarks along with several Cook County Commissioners participating in scripture readings.

Since 2012, Catholic Cemeteries, the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cook County have laid to rest 420 indigent, 57 unidentified and 896 unborn persons with help from the Cook County Funeral Directors Association, Worsham College of Mortuary Science and Malcolm X College.

About Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Cemeteries manages 44 cemeteries within Cook and Lake Counties for the Archdiocese of Chicago. The history of Catholic Cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Chicago actually predates establishment of the diocese. The first Catholic cemeteries were churchyard cemeteries of parishes in existence before the diocese was formed. Some of these cemeteries still operating today were Catholic burial grounds twenty five years before the opening of Calvary Cemetery, the oldest diocesan cemetery, in 1859. More information about the Cremation Garden of Saint Francis as well as Catholic Cemeteries is available at

About the Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in 344 parishes in Cook and Lake Counties, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. The Archdiocese, pastored by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, has more than 15,000 employees in its systems and ministries, including Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit social service agency. The Archdiocese also has one of the country’s largest seminaries. The Archdiocese’s 214 elementary and secondary schools comprise one of the largest U.S. private school systems and have garnered more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any system of any type.


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