Who should be buried in a Catholic cemetery?
Those who believe in Christ and those who wish to share in the belief in resurrection and life after death. Burial in a Catholic cemetery is an affirmation of Christian faith, a statement of belief in Christ’s words — I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25).
Why should I be buried in a Catholic cemetery?
Believers in Jesus Christ form a community of disciples founded on a shared faith in the Resurrection. A Catholic cemetery continues that community… even in death. Here all await the Lord’s call to a new life.
The Catholic church brings its own traditions, beliefs and sensibilities to the reality of death. Such customs can be fully expressed in our Catholic Cemeteries. These are places appropriate for prayer and liturgy, visitation and remembrance. Sacred art and holy shrines strengthen our faith in the Resurrection. The beauty of these holy grounds ministers comfort and peace.
The five Catholic Cemeteries in Edmonton are owned and operated by the Archdiocese on behalf of the Catholic parishes. We exercise an uninterrupted ministry of consolation, guided by the universal Roman Catholic church, the Archdiocese of Edmonton and the needs, of those we serve. Our non-profit, self-sustaining operation is based on guiding principles and deeply held beliefs assuring permanence, reverence and respect for the deceased and support for the living.
Are Catholics required to be buried in Catholic cemeteries, or can they be buried anywhere since the grave is blessed at the time of the burial?
The normal and expected situation is to bury a Catholic in a Catholic cemetery. However, a Catholic may be buried in another cemetery, depending on circumstances, when distance or unavailability of a consecrated Catholic cemetery would create a hardship for the family.
It is still strongly recommended and preferred that, wherever possible, the Bishop make available Catholic cemeteries for the use of the Faithful.
Does one need to be Catholic to be buried in Edmonton Catholic Cemeteries?
No, all are welcome to be buried on the sacred grounds. However, we ask families to respect the Catholic character of the cemeteries.
Are all cemeteries sacred ground?
All cemeteries and burial places are meant to be places of reverence. The Catholic cemetery is considered an extension of the parish church, and like a parish church, is solemnly blessed or “consecrated” by the Bishop. A Catholic cemetery is to be a prayerful place, a permanent memorial for those we have lost; a place where special celebrations are held throughout the year. Monthly memorial Masses and an annual Celebration of Life Mass are held in remembrance of those who have died.
I’ve heard that there are Catholic sections in other graveyards? Is this true?
There are five Roman Catholic Cemeteries (and two Ukrainian Catholic Cemeteries) in the Edmonton region. All of these Cemeteries are spaces consecrated by the Episcopate (the Catholic bishops) of Edmonton. Other cemeteries may have places that are called ‘Catholic’ but they are not designated as consecrated ground (which means formally blessed, dedicated and authorized) by the Episcopate of Edmonton.
The advantage of being buried on consecrated ground includes the blessing of the local Archbishop or Bishop, the monthly Masses where the souls of the faithful departed and their families are prayed for, and the care of the cemetery which is a ministry of the Archdiocese (or Eparchy) of Edmonton.