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All Souls Day is a day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have passed, observed by the Catholic and Christian community on 2 November. Also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, it is traditionally honoured through prayer and Mass services.
This year, we were mindful that many in their local community would be unable to attend our on-site Mass usually held on the day due to Melbourne’s COVID-19 restrictions. In order to provide a space for reflection and prayer, our team decided to get creative with reclaimed materials from our grounds to create a special reflection space for our Christian community to pay tribute in a way that is comfortable and respectful of All Souls Day traditions.
It was important to help our community honour their loved ones for All Souls Day – and to help them do so safely and in line with any current instructions from the Department of Health. Our talented Horticulture, Arbor, Florist and Events teams came up with a unique solution: a peaceful, outdoor reflection space made with materials from the grounds.
It all began with some routine tree removals. Our Arbor team had recently removed some structurally unsound trees from the Garden of No Distant Place at Springvale Botanical Cemetery as part of their usual activity. The timber from trees felled on-site is usually recycled into artisan furniture – but these trees would go on to have a special purpose of their own.
Sections of tree were carefully assembled into a cross formation. Individual holes were added, and the timber treated to protect it against the Melbourne weather. Words of reflection were carved into adjoining timber pieces, and a hollowed-out reclaimed stump was transformed into a ‘tribute hollow’ – a place for our community to place prayer cards inscribed with messages of love.
The next step was to invite a member of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to bless the cross. On Wednesday 27 October, we were delighted and honoured to have Father Fragapane visit our reflection space to bless the cross – and members of our team – in a moving ceremony. Father Fragapane even kindly offered to return after All Souls Day to take the prayer cards and offer them at mass, a move that brought great solace to our community.
Thank you to Father Fragapane and the teams involved in the construction of the cross for making this reflection space possible.
Once the cross was blessed by Father Fragapane, the team had the task of installing the cross and various elements at the chosen location near the Padre Pio III Mausoleum at Springvale Botanical Cemetery. Given the move would take several days, our team set up a camera to capture the process.
Have a look at this special behind-the-scenes time-lapse of the All Souls Day reflection space as it is assembled in place:
Once fully assembled in its final location, the All Souls Day cross was given its final adornment – some bespoke floral arrangements, courtesy of our very own Café Vita et flores team.
Thank you to everyone who came out to honour their loved ones at our All Souls Day reflection space.
We are always looking to create enhanced events that help our community honour and celebrate their loved ones. Please take a moment to share any comments and submit your feedback on the reflection space. Your feedback can help us tailor future events and installations to the needs of the community.
To see the digital tributes or read more about the installation, go to our dedicated All Souls Day page. Digital tributes will remain open until 14 November.
To read more about Father Fragapane’s blessing, the reflection space was featured in an article on the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s website.