|The first seed of motivation to create some kind of unity in East Bernard among area Catholic immigrant settlers began in the latter part of 1900 when an increasing need developed for a sacred burial ground for their deceased loved ones. An acre of land was purchased on the edge of town near the San Bernard River for the purpose of a Catholic cemetery. A lovely stone fence was erected around the property and soon Catholics were able to bury their family members in sacred ground. The cemetery established Holy Cross as a parish family and is actually older than Holy Cross Church.
In 1931, additional cemetery property was purchased directly behind the original rear stone wall for future expansion. In the following year, a concrete altar topped with a 15 ft. terra cotta crucifixion statue was donated by John Jochec and Anna Vrazel and was erected in the center of the cemetery. The gravesite of Rev. Msgr. Joseph Kunc, resident pastor of Holy Cross from 1921 to 1951, lies directly in front of this stately altar.
In May of 1972, the first mausoleum was built and was named the “Kukral Mausoleum” honoring Rev. Msgr. John Kukral, resident pastor of Holy Cross at the time whose tenure lasted 10 years. Msgr. Kukral is entombed in this mausoleum.
Sections of the cemetery were developed over the years as needed and a portion of the property was set aside for future mausoleums. In 2002, a second mausoleum, “Garden Mausoleum No. 1”, was built with the planning of two more attaching “sister” mausoleums to be built in the future as needed. This second mausoleum incorporates cremation niches in its design.
In 2003, the cemetery property that was purchased in 1931 was developed into a large burial section and was surrounded by a newly constructed stately stone and iron fence in keeping with the design of the cemetery. This section was named the “Ruppert Section” in honor of Rev. Donald R. Ruppert, resident pastor at present and during the time it was built.
By the year 2005 a need for a permanent central graveside services location was very apparent due to the steady growth of the cemetery. In 2006, a Cemetery Pavilion designed by Joseph Prochaska, Jr. was constructed by Boettcher Hlavinka Contractors. The pavilion was designed and built to resemble the Spanish architecture of Holy Cross Church with white stucco finish, a red tiled roof and arched openings. Improved horseshoe design roadwork was done by King Construction of Wallis, Texas.
Other appointments in the cemetery include a tombstone for aborted babies which was installed beside the cemetery altar in June of 1993 and a beautiful life-size angel statue placed in the Baby Land section in 2005. This lovely angel, a gift from the Jim Knesek family of Sealy, Texas, cradles an infant in her arms and oversees the tiny graves in that section.
Members of the Holy Cross Cemetery Committee are Frank Hlavinka, Lorraine Chumchal, Rosie Balusek, Charles Bucek, Linda Kopecky, Kenneth Wicke and John Robert Wicke. The Holy Cross Cemetery Administrator is Evelyn Vacek who directs the sale of grave spaces, mausoleum crypts and cremation niches. Evelyn Vacek can be contacted at Holy Cross Cemetery office at 979-335-4071 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.