During Summer the National Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau remembers those who were laid to the rest in the last year at the Shrine’s Columbarium with a stone blessing, following the engraving of the niches.
For the past 10 years Tim Tiffany, with Quiring Monuments in Seattle, has made a summer trip to Juneau to engrave the stones placed on the Shrine’s Columbarium, as well as the Fisherman’s Memorial in downtown Juneau.
Before the etching begins, Tiffany removes the stone in front of the niche that needs to be engraved. He then lays down a stencil of the engraving design, glues the stencil to the stone. Once this process has been completed, Tiffany sandblasts the stone, following the stencil, to engrave each person’s name and design.
After each stone has been engraved, Tiffany paints the design white into the recently carved dark stone, and sets them back in front of their niche to memorialize those laid to rest at the Shrine.
A week later a stone blessing takes place at the Shrine and the family and friends of the ones laid to rest at the columbarium in the last year are invited to attend. This is the second year the Stone Blessing has taken place at the National Shrine of St. Therese and Shrine Director, Joe Sehnert, hopes will it become an annual tradition.
As people arrive at the columbarium they are greeted by bagpipe
music. Deacon Jeff Volker led the Blessing beginning in prayer before he incensed
each columbarium, then blessed each of the newly engraved stones individually. The Blessing concluded with a prayer and the playing of Amazing Grace.