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Citrus Heights cemetery expanding, amid uptick in deaths

Bishop Jaime Soto, center, along with Mayor Steve Miller, Jerry Del Core, and Eric Edelmayer join other officials for the groundbreaking ceremony for a new funeral facility at Calvary Cemetery in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Calvary Cemetery & Funeral Center in Citrus Heights broke ground Wednesday on a new, 21,000-square-foot funeral center that will take more than a year to complete.

Bishop Jaime Soto gave a blessing over the land and offered a prayer for the project during the April 28 ceremony.

Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services President Jerry Del Core told The Sentinel the project has been on the drawing board for more than a decade. The recent increase in deaths due to COVID-19 helped put the plan into action.

“What we’ve seen is roughly a 20% increase in cases and that corresponds to roughly the number of cases that we receive that we believe are COVID related which is around 25%,” Del Core said. “It’s not what’s driving this decision, but it certainly will allow us to serve more families better.”

Construction will take 14 to 16 months to complete, according to Del Core. The finished facility will include administrative offices, a chapel, and a reception area for celebration of life events.

A rendering shows what the new funeral center will look like, when complete.

Plans show the facility architecture will resemble the recently completed St. Mary Funeral Center on Fruitridge Road in Sacramento. Both facilities are owned by the Diocese of Sacramento.

Del Core estimates the new facility will double the size of the staff currently employed at Calvary Funeral Center, creating local jobs.

Citrus Heights Mayor Steve Miller, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony and spoke with The Sentinel about the project, also noted the additional jobs the new center will bring to the area and said “anything that brings the community together is a positive.”

Jackson Construction President Eric Edelmayer said the project is more than just another commercial building for his team.

“To partner and provide services to the diocese — it’s our highest calling as a contractor,” he said. “Any time a church calls you to work for them, you realize this is a very important facility to them with a higher meaning, relatively speaking, than just a normal office or warehouse project. It becomes very personal. We treat is as if it were our own.”

Calvary Funeral Center currently operates four funeral centers and 11 cemeteries, according to an April 26 press release. The Citrus Heights cemetery is its second-largest, visible from passersby on Interstate 80 and located at 7101 Verner Ave.

Although primarily serving Catholic and Christian communities, the cemetery offers full mortuary and cremation services for those of all faiths.

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