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The Community Cathedral, a new Hispanic memorial site, opened Tuesday on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga.

"With the growing Hispanic population in Western New York, (we) realized that this segment of the population did not have a cemetery dedicated to their specific cultural and religious traditions," said Robert A. Wutz, president of Mount Calvary Cemetery Group.

The final design and theme for the memorial site was achieved through several focus groups and numerous interviews and meetings with community leaders, the Mount Calvary Cemetery Group and designer Peter J. Smith.

For the site, numerous aspects of Hispanic culture were incorporated, ranging from bilingual signage, a space for interpretive segments featuring local Hispanic community history and local leaders, to traditions, culture and religious beliefs, Smith said.

In addition, a community gathering area is planned along with benches, a kneeling stone, and opportunities for memorializations and remembrance, including commemorative stones and monuments, trees, stone pavers and benches, Smith said.

The area creates an outdoor cathedral for the Hispanic community with granite pillars representative of flying buttresses used in church construction.

On the buttresses' sides are interpretive panels that will be completed in the future. The outdoor cathedral serves as both a gathering area and a gateway into the burial area of this Hispanic section.


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