History of the Catholic Cemeteries in the Diocese of Phoenix

The most significant history of Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes is written in the stone or bronze monuments and memorials of all the faithful buried who are awaiting resurrection. Their life stories proclaim God’s story. This history is still being written by families recovering from the grief of recent loss or honoring the memory of loved ones from long ago. Each of our cemeteries started with a first burial in the first garden memorialized with the first monument. Over the years, thousands of prayers have been offered for the deceased and their families, each a testament to a life of faith.

Today, Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes operate six Catholic cemeteries and two Catholic funeral homes in Central and Northern Arizona. As a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church, we are fulfilling our mission, one of the Corporal Works of Mercy, which is to bury the dead. 

Timeline

Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Flagstaff was chartered in 1892, making it the oldest Catholic cemetery now in the Diocese of Phoenix. Then, it was managed by the Diocese of Albuquerque serving Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel and St Pius X Center. These churches now are included in the San Francisco de Asis parish.

The first burial at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery was on October 12, 1897, when the Franciscans were the keepers of the cemetery. This first burial was of Margaret Geare on October 12, 1897. The order of St. Francis operated the cemetery until 1969, when Phoenix became an independent diocese.

Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Avondale was founded in 1964. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix had a population of 180,000 Catholics and consisted of 51 parishes, 51 missions and a total of 182 diocesan and religious priests.

Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Mesa was developed in 1978. Holy Redeemer Catholic Cemetery was opened in 2000. All Souls Catholic Cemetery in Cottonwood was founded in 2004. Queen of Heaven Catholic Funeral Home opened in 2007. Holy Cross Catholic Funeral Home opened in 2013.