By Keren Anne V. Bernadas
As part of the 112th Founders Celebration, Silliman University formally launched the columbary development project of SU Memorial Garden last Aug. 24. Located in the west of SU Church along the national road, the memorial garden and columbarium aim to house urns of persons’ cremated remains. The development plan will feature niches and corresponding landscape design.
Prof. Jane Annette L. Belarmino, Vice-President for Development, said that the revenues generated from the Columbarium will support the spiritual and faith-strengthening activities of SU. “The proceeds of the income [columbarium] will help brace up church activities such as the Galilean fellowships, Dorm devotions and Sunday services,” she said.The University Spiritual Life Council and the Church Council had agreed on the policy that eligible availability of the niches will go to people who have connections with Silliman. They had also created the Columbarium Committee that will approve all applications for the use of the garden and the vaults.
The Columbary project includes: Parallel Memorial Walls for alumni who would want their loved ones’ name to be carved on a tombstone on the wall if they are unable to retrieve the remains; Vertical Memorial Wall for alumni who would prefer the ashes of their loved ones to the columbary; Wall of Remembrance exclusively for the urns of alumni family members who would prefer their niches grouped together with their names etched; and parallel to the Wall of Remembrance, is a wall for alumni who would like to donate a niche for someone who made their lives meaningful while in the university.
Prof. Belarmino said, “[Admin] is still to lay-out the financial calculations of the total number of niches and how much will each cost.” The construction of the columbarium has already started and is expected by VPD to be finished before the school year ends. The project also includes landscape design with benches, floral arrangements, and a “reflecting” pool. Prof. Belarmino added: “When the K-12 hits the year 2016, there will be no income. So the portion of [columbarium] revenues will still support the faith-strengthening part of your education and also to ensure the support for the Church.”