Orange County News

'Walk of Faith' memorial stones at Crystal Cathedral to be moved

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A plan to remove memorial stones from the Crystal Cathedral has sparked opposition from former churchgoers. The landmark cathedral has switched ownership and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is making some changes.

Anaheim resident Judy De Clercq says she wanted to honor her husband Lee and her son Arthur Lee with memorial stones embedded in the Walk of Faith at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove.

"I went to look at it all the time and I felt so good about doing it," said De Clercq.

The 88-year-old says she couldn't afford it, but she scraped together $3,000 for her husband's stone in 1996. They were longtime church members.

"He had the verse picked out: 'May the peace of God rule your heart,'" said De Clercq.

She says she also struggled to come up with another $3,000 for her son's stone when the Huntington Park Police lieutenant passed away a few years ago.

Last week, De Clercq received a letter from the church telling her the stones will have to be removed.

"It's breaking my heart because my husband wanted it with all his heart. It was the last thing I did for him after he died," said De Clercq.

Church officials say 1,800 stones bearing a Bible quotation and the names of loved ones will have to go. They were put in place over the past 30 years when the grounds were owned by the Crystal Cathedral.

After bankruptcy proceedings, the new owner, Christ Catholic Cathedral Corporation, says renovations are underway.

Christ Catholic Cathedral Corporation released a statement: "The campus is in need of significant repairs and we have plans to develop and beautify the common outdoor areas around the cathedral. To make this a reality, the stones will need to be removed over the coming years - they are not all coming out now...those who want their stones returned - we are accommodating such requests."

Church officials also say they are photographing each stone and putting them online for all to see.

De Clercq says that does her no good since she doesn't own a computer. She says she's hurt the promise made years ago is not being fulfilled.

"They said forever, they'd be there until eternity," said De Clercq.

Christ Catholic Cathedral Corporation officials said the stones were being placed in storage and none of them would be destroyed.

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