Ventura's desecrated St. Mary Cemetery
Activists confront Cardinal Mahony
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
St Marys activists answer questions
Venturas desecrated St. Mary Cemetery Activists confront Cardinal Mahony - Historic Missions 225th Anniversary displays Municipal & Church Mistreatment of 6,000 Pioneers Graves. On a downtown Sunday March 30 2008, a public historic outdoor event occurred with hundreds of local Ventura citizens attending. Some people thought it was a celebration of the 225th Ventura Missions anniversary with the special attendance of Los Angeles Cardinal Mahony. Cardinal Mahony celebrated an open-air Mass and the Knights of Columbus served a lunch. MORE informed public-minded St Marys desecrated cemetery activists knew that an informational public picket was scheduled there. Several members of Steven Schleders founded Restore St. Mary's Cemetery movement used this event to inform the public about this miscarriage of municipal and church abuse. Restore St. Mary's Cemetery members have established a web site disseminating information about their cemetery restoration project. The web site, http://www.restorestmarys.org/ Restore St. Mary's Cemetery leaders have researched the long history of the citys and churchs cemetery desecration, the subsequent mistreatment of the grounds and tombs. An ancient Catholic mission cemetery is in an area west of the present day Mission church only to have those 2,800 graves defiled with the current mission school facility built on top of the sacred early pioneers tombs without those remains re-interned elsewhere. But there is a long history of sacred cemetery mistreatment in Ventura. Another instance can be found one mile east of the Mission San Buenaventura, Venturas dog park Cemetery Park (located between Main and Poli Streets). 3,000+ graves of Catholics, Protestants, Asian, Jewish, native Chumash, Congressional Medal of Honor winning war veterans (Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish Wars), pioneers, and many Spanish land grant family members tombs buried in the defiled St Marys ex-cemetery. In 1964, the city took the cemetery property.
The city employees quietly dumped hundreds of valuable historic family marble tombstones into local Hall Canyon and along an adjoining riverbank, which is now under a levy. City work crews only covered the graves with a topsoil layer for grass. Again, thousands of historic religious early tombs were NOT moved and re-interned elsewhere. Cemetery Park is where its many neighbors (consisting of several city officials) walk illegally un-leashed dogs to defecate liberally everyday on hallowed souls graves and few family headstones. Ten Restore St. Mary's Cemetery member activists conducted a respectful silent informational sidewalk rally event during the post-Mass public lunch. They passed out St. Mary's Cemetery flyers and carried picket signs expressing their views like Respect St Marys Graves! Several hundred St. Mary's Cemetery flyers were passed out to lunch attendees and activists happily told citizens about the institutional sullying of Venturas 6,000+ ancestors blessed tombs and consecrated grounds. A few illustrative special note anniversary incidents occurred during the sidewalk silent picketing. *First, Cardinal Mahony noticed one of Restore St. Mary's Cemetery members handwritten signs as she walked close by him. His Eminences only comment to her was that she had misspelled his last name that appeared on her informational picket sign to restore St Marys Catholic defiled graves. Cardinal Mahony said, "Hello." Then he pointed to her picket sign message, Cardinal Mahony only said, "You misspelled my last name on your sign. Its spelled, M-A-H-O-N-Y, there is no 'E'!" And that was the total extent of his thoughts about this St Mary cemetery desecration problem. Interesting, isnt it? *Later, historical preservationist activist Steven Schleder (who founded the Restore St. Mary's Cemetery movement) and another activist were quietly answering some St Marys questions from two young persons near the lunch area. Sadly, an overly aggressive Knights of Columbus lunch crewmember reprimanded and insistently directed the Restore St Marys representatives to leave the lunch area immediately under pain of police escort. This was very unfortunate for the Knights of Columbus. *Also, finally some news media camera crews were holding an on camera sidewalk interview with one St Marys activist. Several Mission Catholic parishioners walked through the news cameras interview video shot displaying laughing and smirking from their joy in disrupting the news interview on St Marys cemetery matters. These are all poignant examples of the current public reaction to the restoration of consecrated family graves public's apathy, indifference, arrogance, and extreme dislike to this honest plea. Restore St. Mary's Cemetery must continue to make all efforts to change closed minds with the real truth and facts. Mr. Schleder and his activist group members have been instrumental in garnering government, public & media attention to Ventura's municipal mistake and correct it. Restore St. Mary's Cemetery group want to see the Mission Cemetery school matters solved and the city park changed back to the respectful consecrated cemetery to honor the many families of those buried there. Restore St. Mary's Cemetery members have established a web site disseminating information about their cemetery restoration project. The web site, http://www.restorestmarys.org/