columbario, San Fernando

Posted On 2024-04-11 In Covenant Life

A columbarium next to the Shrine in San Fernando

CHILE, Jaime Valenzuela / Editorial Team • 

In a column for in January 2024 (published in German, Spanish, and Portuguese), later republished in the Chilean magazine “Vinculo”, Rafael Mascayano shared a reflection under the title: “I would like my ashes to remain in Bellavista”…, and he asks almost at the end of his writing: “Is it too much to ask that for these 75 years of May 31st, the idea of the construction of a columbarium or memorial in Bellavista could be thought of, deliberated and put into action?

It was a proposal that aroused several comments in favor … and a discovery: The San Fernando family has a columbarium on their land that is already in its final stages and they hope to have it built in a short time. How did this come about? Jaime Valenzuela tells us, first in the magazine Vinculo and now on

The link with the Shrine

At the end of 2015, in conversations within the Couples’ Branch of the San Fernando Family, it was discovered that several members were interested in having it established that upon their death they would be cremated and their ashes deposited in the gardens of the Shrine. Fr. Miguel Kast, then who was informed of our interest, because for all of us the attachment to our Shrine is so deep that we want it to last beyond our earthly life. As a way to handle this situation and to give a dignified treatment to the ashes of those interested, besides being able to obtain some economic benefit to maintain the facilities of the enclosure, the construction of a columbarium was proposed.

Then-advisor Fr. Miguel Kast presented the request to the Council of the Schoenstatt Fathers, and there were no objections. He advised us to speak with the bishop at that time, Monsignor Alejandro Goic, who received us along with the delivery of a letter that we sent on that occasion, and authorized us to go ahead with the project, taking care not to fall into commercial situations such as those that had occurred in some parishes of the diocese of Santiago. Once the issues related to the corresponding authorizations were cleared up, our architect Nieves Cosmelli was asked to prepare a project that would be consistent with the architecture of the rest of the facilities of the place, delivering a project based on a module for 30 units, which could be repeated as many times as necessary.

The first module has already been built and only the marble slabs that constitute the enclosure of each niche are missing. As for the administrative part, only the paperwork is pending to be able to issue invoices or other documents that allow the transaction to be made. We did not know of other situations similar to our project of other Schoenstatt families, but later the Family of Curicó became interested in it and started their own project.

In the city of Monterrey, where a second Shrine is being built, now in the center of the city, the project also includes burial niches. Many people in the area are happy to think that their mortal remains can rest under the altar of the Shrine. That “basement”, by the way, has a lot of merit, as it is embedded in pure rock and drilling it has been an arduous and time-consuming task. If Jesus Christ spent three days in a tomb carved in rock, what a privilege that our remains also rest among rocks, in the presence of the Blessed Mother!


Collaboration: Eduardo Shelley

Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer

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