Archdiocese of Madrid Builds Burial Structure for Coronavirus Victims’ Remains

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Currents News Staff 

In record time — only 15 days — the  “Túmulo del Recuerdo” or Tumulus of Memory was created and opened in Madrid. It’s a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall hexagonal structure that will hold the ashes of more than a thousand people who died from the coronavirus.

“Like all priests, the archbishop must respond to the needs of the faithful,” said Father Nelson Nájera, chaplain of the San Justo Cemetery where the structure is located. “The archbishop, aware of this need, opened this tumulus of memory where the ashes of around 1,900 people will be deposited for families who don’t have a place to put them. It’s a way to say there is a place for them.”

The structure was developed by the Sacramental de San Justo Foundation. The designers included a marble finish to the structure that will be covered by a canopy, according to Sacramental de San Justo’s architect Licinio Rivero.

“A canopy is a structure with an altar or coffin inside, so it’s perfect,” Rivero said. “That way, even if it doesn’t cover the whole interior, when you look at it, you can clearly see the silhouette of a temple.” 

Families who were affected by the health and economic crises will now have a final resting place for their loved ones.

“They were counting on being able to choose what to do with the ashes of their loved ones, but they were left without options and without the possibility of burying them,” said Francisco Belmonte, from Sacramental de San Justo.

The “Túmulo del Recuerdo” is ready for use. Cardinal Carlos Osoro blessed it. It’s yet another example of the Church in Madrid’s closeness to the people amid the pain and crisis sparked by the coronavirus.