ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- "Rest in Peace" was once the only choice at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
This year, however, the Rochester Catholic Diocese cemetery began offering 49 other epitaph inscriptions whose religious significance is immediately apparent. They include, for example, "Christ Bid You Welcome," "God Shall Wipe Out All Tears" and "Here I Am Lord."
But the list did not include one requested this summer: "Game Over, Player One." A 34-year-old man who died of cancer always wanted that epitaph, his family said. It was chosen from a line common at the end of video games he often played.
The board found it flippant. The family, quoted in a front-page Rochester newspaper article, found it meaningful.
Then came the controversy and the letters to the editor. One writer thought a fitting epitaph would have been, "Read the Fine Print." Another expressed surprise at the requirements of a "pre-approved epitaph considered suitable by a total stranger."
The Rev. Peter Bayer, cemetery board vice president, said, however, that people called him to urge the cemetery to keep its spiritual theme epitaphs.
The board's executive committee recently asked him to study regulations of other religious and secular cemeteries and report to it by October. "We are concerned about the whole grieving process by anyone who goes through it," he said. "We'll look at the whole theme of what is a cemetery, what is a religious cemetery and what does it signify."
Robert Vogt, cemetery director, maintains the trouble started when the board became generous. "Word gets around that you made an exception, and it's carved in stone," he said.