Posted: Nov 4, 2010 6:33 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Updated: Nov 4, 2010 6:35 PM
Heartbreak in one Vermilion Parish town-- after grave sites are stripped bare of sentimental items.
Resident, Jackie Abshire, said "if I had knew this was going to happen and I had this set of rules 11 years ago, when I buried my daughter, then I would have never buried her in this cemetery."
Forked Island residents say the cemetery committee at Saint Anne Catholic Church removed sentimental items from loved ones graves without their consent.
Blain Stelly said someone, "broke the wings and broke the head off to pull this off."
Diocese spokesperson, Monsignor Richard Green, said "it could be if they were damaged, they were damaged from before. No-one from the church would deliberately damage any of the things picked up."
Monsenior Green said the items were removed because of new rules and regulations in Vermilion Parish...rules put in place in March 2009.
"Cleanliness, neatness, so that people that come and everything will be safe for them to visit the cemetery, " he said.
Abshire said, "they are claiming, they could cause bodily harm to the caretaker. These are angels that have been on these graves for years."
Residents say the only notification they received of the new regulations was in a church bulletin.
Charlotte Frederick said, "we weren't told that if it was cemented and hadn't been moved for 45 years that you still had to remove it. You can't tell me that any priest or anyone of the Catholic religion is going to condone throwing any blessed or holy item in the trash."
Frederick says her sister has been buried at the Sacred Heart Cemetery for 45 years. When her father passed away a few years ago, her remains were moved inside of her father's casket.
"You can't tell me that the bouquet of flowers next to that big marble headstone, that they didn't realize that it belonged to someone else," Frederick said. "That was my baby sister's bouquet. Does she not deserve a bouquet because the "cemetery committee" says she doesn't?"
Monsenior Green says residents can take complaints to their pastor, but Blain Stelly says if these are the new rules he wants nothing to do with it.
"We got extra plots and I would never be buried in a cemetery like this," Stelly said.