Holy Sepulchre Cemetery was founded for the burial of Catholics of Italian background at a time when ethnic cemeteries were the norm. (The United German and French Roman Catholic Cemetery, dating to 1859, is a stone's throw away and St. Stanislaus Polish Cemetery is just down the street).
Founded in 1913 with a purchase of 20 acres of land on Harlem Road, Cheektowaga, with an entrance between Genesee Street and the Kensington Expressway, the cemetery was consecrated by Bishop Henry Colton in 1913. In a letter dated Nov. 28, 1916, Bishop Dennis Dougherty (later Cardinal Dougherty), set down rules for the governance of the Italian cemetery. Additional acreage was purchased for a total 33 acres in a narrow, very deep cemetery behind the neighborhood known as Tiorunda.
St. Francis of Assisi Chapel Mausoleum was built in 1992. Lovely mosaics of Italian Saints - Santa Francesco and Santa Chiara, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, adorn the front exterior. Inside, stained glass beautifully portrays St. Francis, the Stigmata, the Greccio Christmas scene, and the Resurrection. To drive or walk through the cemetery and read all the Italian names gives a feeling for the faith of the Italian ancestors.
Holy Sepulchre, with its 33 acres in the town of Cheektowaga, has over 20,000 interments in the cemetery. There are approximately 8 acres of undeveloped land for future cemetery use.