Cemetery supervisor:
Mount Olivet one of area's best kept secrets

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Thursday, May 10, 2001 Page C5
By: Karris Golden

As a Cedar Falls police officer, Dan Sink didn't get a lot of peace and quiet. But after retiring from the force in September, he has an abundance. His new job as supervisor of Mount Olivet Cemetery is worlds away from police work "I love it up here," Sink says of the cemetery.

Recently, he completed his first major project at the quiet cemetery that overlooks Highway 63; the installation of new Stations of the Cross. The new stones replace the old stations, which flank both sides of the cemetery's alter, making them the focus of Mount Olivet's Garden of the Cross.

To decide on a style for Mount Olivet's stations, Sink visited many cemeteries through Northeast Iowa. While some had stations, the stones were sold as grave markers and weren't in a specific location, he said. "I think we're unique in that we stations as the focal point of the cemetery," Sink noted. "I don't know of any other cemetery in Northeast Iowa with something quite like this."

The purpose of the stations is to dramatize Jesus' experiences and they are based on the via dolorosa in Jerusalem. The devotions, also called the Way of the Cross, usually begin with Jesus' condemnation. Participants re-enact his walk through Jerusalem with the cross, the crucifixion and his body being laid in the tomb.

There can be as few as seven or more than 20 separate Stations of the Cross. At Mount Olivet, there are a total of 14 stations, beginning with the "Way of the Cross' stone and ending with the "Resurrection" stone. Goehrig Memorials handled the arrangements for the new granite monuments, which were shipped from India.

The cemetery, located at 3910 W Fourth St., has offered the Stations of the Cross for about six years. However, three of the former stations have been vandalized and eventually were stolen. "They were hand-carved, and they couldn't be replaced," said Sink. "Even if we did find someone who could do it, it wouldn't be the same. We just went for a few years without those stations."


As a result, all 14 stations were replaced with the 3-foot-tall, volcano black monuments. Families throughout Northeast Iowa were called upon to sponsor stones. Sink and his 10 siblings bought the 11th stone, in memory of their parents.

The project started in November. By April, all but two of the stones had sponsors. "Most of the families who sponsored the stones have someone buried here," Sink said. The cemetery may be one of the metro area's best kept secrets, Sink said. "A lot of Catholics don't even know there's a Catholic cemetery in Black Hawk County."