A Loss and a Gain

When Keith Rezendes was hired as the director of San Lorenzo Cemetery in St. Augustine in 2018, one of his first goals was the place a statue in the baby section of the cemetery. Despite informing families again and again over the years that a statue would one day watch over the graves of their little ones, it was difficult to make it a reality due to cost. But that all changed when Kim Dronzek reached out to the diocese for help.

In 2010, Kim’s brother passed away in a tragic trucking accident. To remember him, her parents bought a statue of St. Christopher with a child atop his shoulders. As the legend goes, St. Christopher devoted his life to carrying people across a dangerous river. One day, he carried a child on his shoulders, who seemed to get heavier and heavier with each step. Once they had crossed the river, the child proclaimed that he was Christ and that St. Christopher had been carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Kim’s father recently had to move to an assisted-living facility, and with the passing of her mother, the statue had no where to go. According to Kim, her father’s greatest desire was to have the statue given to a Catholic Church. He had previously made arrangements that St. Paul Parish at Jacksonville Beach be given the statue, but because of construction, they couldn’t accept it.

Thankfully, San Lorenzo Cemetery could. Last week, the five-foot-tall statue was installed on a new marble base by Steedley Monument Company. On the same day, a new double-sided columbarium, called “Faith,” was installed to hold the ashes of 64 departed souls. Faith joins six other columbariums at San Lorenzo.

“St. Christopher gives a sense of peace and love to the families who have their precious ones buried here at San Lorenzo Catholic Cemetery,” said Rezendes. “It also completes the plan Bruce Wright, a longtime employee, had for the statuary he intended for this section, although he passed away before he was able to see it come to fruition.”