Mount Olivet serves as final resting place for two bishops

by CONNOR KEENAN
Tue, Sep 27th 2016 08:00 am
Contributor
Outside of Mount Olivet's Ascension Chapel and Columbarium, a Celtic cross can be found signifying the burial place of Bishop William Turner. (Connor Keenan)
Outside of Mount Olivet's Ascension Chapel and Columbarium, a Celtic cross can be found signifying the burial place of Bishop William Turner. (Connor Keenan)

While most deceased bishops of Buffalo have been laid to rest in the crypts behind the altar at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kenmore is the final resting place for two bishops, including a native son.

Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin, who was born in North Tonawanda, was auxiliary bishop emeritus of Buffalo when he passed away in early 2015. Long devoted to the Blessed Mother, it is fitting that he now rests near a statue of Mary in the Garden of the Holy Family, a section of Mount Olivet that backs up to Delaware Avenue. His mother and father, Mary and Michael, are buried next to him.

Also laid to rest at Mount Olivet is Bishop William Turner, the sixth bishop of Buffalo, who was born in Ireland. Upon ordination in 1893, he traveled to America, where he would serve as a professor at multiple seminaries. In 1919, he was appointed bishop of Buffalo, a title he held for 17 years. Bishop Turner was responsible for the creation of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, which has grown into the most comprehensive human services provider in Western New York. He is buried among 19 other diocesan priests. The base of the cross that serves as a headpiece holds information of his life, as well as an engraving of his coat of arms.

"We are blessed to have Mount Olivet as the final resting place for these two holy men," said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries. "We had a close, personal connection to Bishop McLaughlin, who lived in the residence on our property and celebrated memorial Masses at Mount Olivet for many years."

Many other bishops have a connection to Mount Olivet as well.  Bishop Charles H. Colton consecrated the cemetery on Oct. 11, 1908.  The first Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo mausoleum project took place at Mount Olivet. Holy Family Mausoleum was dedicated by Bishop Edward D. Head in September 1979.

It is a common belief that yet another bishop is buried in the cemetery.

The simple, granite cross, a few feet away from Bishop Turner's grave, on the same side of the chapel, is in memory of Bishop John A. Duffy, who served as both bishop of Syracuse (1933-37) and Buffalo (1937-44). The cross is located at Mount Olivet related to his involvement in the construction of the nearby Ascension Chapel and Columbarium, where the cornerstone was laid in 1930. Above the engraving on the base of the cross is a metallic plate bearing his coat of arms. Bishop Duffy is actually buried in Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, N.J.  

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