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 CNS Story:

HOPE-GARDEN Aug-23-2005 (550 words) With photos. xxxn

Bob Hope Memorial Garden opens at San Fernando Mission

By Paula Doyle
Catholic News Service

MISSION HILLS, Calif. (CNS) -- Two years to the day after legendary entertainer Bob Hope died, family members and friends attended a dedication July 27 of the Bob Hope Memorial Garden at the San Fernando Mission in Mission Hills, created as an inspirational final resting place for the beloved comedian.

Adjacent to the mission chapel and overlooking the cemetery, the English-style flower garden decorated with religious statues and meditation benches opened to the public two days later.

"For most of his hundred years on old planet Earth and for all of his public life, Bob lived in the San Fernando Valley," said San Fernando Mission director Msgr. Francis Weber during the dedication ceremony.

"On his many travels to the far corners of the world to entertain the nation's troops, his returning plane banked over the Old Mission as it made its way to Hollywood-Burbank (Airport)," Msgr. Weber added. "We welcome him home and rejoice that he will henceforth share his many memories with his friends and his fellow travelers."

The dedication ceremony and Mass, with Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony presiding, was the culmination of months of planning and construction at the historic San Fernando Mission.

Hope's wife, Dolores, chose the mission for her husband's burial place because of his abiding love for the San Fernando Valley, where the couple raised four children and attended St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood.

Cardinal Mahony began the Mass by pointing out that, while Dolores Hope had expressed the desire for a simple celebration, the event drew two cardinals (including Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington), Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., and priests from across the country. Other guests included actor Mickey Rooney and Kathryn Crosby, Bing Crosby's widow.

At a press conference held at the memorial garden June 28, Linda Hope, Bob and Dolores' daughter, said her golf-loving father would be pleased at the beautiful outdoor setting for his burial place.

"This garden has been a labor of love for my mom and the rest of our family," said Linda Hope. Her brother, Kelly, called it "a wonderful, fitting tribute" to their father's memory.

Before entering the garden, visitors pass by the Our Lady of Hope statue, a replica of a famous 17th-century sculpture of Mary at the Basilica of Our Lady of Hope in Pontmain, France, which was a family favorite.

"The statue was very meaningful to my mother --- our dad did bring a little bit of hope to many," said Linda Hope. To the right of the entrance gate is a work-in-progress memorial wall with bas-reliefs depicting important milestones in Bob Hope's life.

The crypt grotto features a bronze sculpture replica of Anna Hyatt Huntington's "The Holy Family Resting -- Flight into Egypt," located at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Dolores Hope's mother, Teresa Kelly DeFina, and the Hopes' deceased son, Anthony J. Hope, are currently interred in the garden, with additional places for other family members.

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Editors: The Bob Hope Memorial Garden is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Garden admittance is free to visitors with paid mission admission ($4 for adults; $3 for seniors and children). More information is available on the Web site www.bobhope.com.


Copyright (c) 2005 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
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