Last Updated - January 2022

March 15, 2019

The richest person in the cemetery is the one who left the most happy memories. You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Matshona Dhliwayo

Is there such a thing as the perfect send off? When someone we love and cherish has passed away, we want to honour them and celebrate their life in a way that would make them proud and feeling loved. Christians who have faith can approach death with peace and trust.

The funeral process has changed greatly over the years. It used to be standard to wake a person for 3 days, followed by the funeral mass, and then on to the cemetery or vault until springtime. More often than not now, families are spread out across the country and sometimes world and having the traditional funeral doesn’t seem feasible or necessary to them anymore. Many families choose to wake for only a couple of hours and then a chapel service. Often they will have their loved one cremated and take them home with them, with the intention that they will arrange for a proper burial someday. Just not yet.

Funeral directors are confronted with families that demand speedy services so that they can get back home and return to their lives. The seasoned funeral directors may admit that they have noticed a movement. Often when a parent passes away, the family may decide to cut out certain prearranged parts of the funeral. Possibly reducing the wake from afternoon and evening to just a couple of hours prior to the service. Or they may skip the funeral mass and opt for a chapel service at the funeral home. Then later, when the second parent passes away, the family often chooses much differently. They decide to go with the full day of wake and choose to have the funeral mass at their parent’s parish. This is often because they’ve realized that the funeral is a large part of the grieving process. Having family and friends visit at the wake is for beneficial for both the family and those visiting. Having the funeral mass is comforting and essential in the Catholic faith.

Utilize the funeral process as a time to comfort one another and share the wonderful memories you have of your loved one. Laying your loved one to rest at the cemetery is the final part. Often it is the saddest for many.

We at the Cemeteries of Alexandria-Cornwall want the graveside experience to be meaningful. We encourage families to think about their loved one and personalize the burial. Perhaps have a piper play the bagpipes or all sing together a favourite song. If they had a preferred flower, leave it on the grave. Share stories and prayers. Remember the good times, the laughter, the love and the challenges. Plan for the future while reflecting on the past. Although we miss our loved ones that go before us, we must rest assured that they are now at peace.
You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Matshona Dhliwayo

September 21, 2019

Always Loved, Never Forgotten, Forever Missed

The anniversary of the death of a loved one can be difficult. There are ways however to acknowledge those that have gone before us and at the same time help us get through the sadness and feeling of loss. It can be comforting to look through old photos that bring a smile to our face and remind us of wonderful times. Listening to a song that reminds us of our loved one or writing a poem or a letter about what you miss most about them, can be part of the healing process. Some people choose to honour their loved ones by doing good deeds they know would make that person proud. Traditionally, you can visit the gravesite and place flowers or an item that would have meant something special to them. The greatest tribute though, can be to live your best life in their honour.

Every year on a Sunday in September, we gather to remember those we’ve laid to rest in the cemetery since the previous September. This year we will be having our service for Notre-Dame Cemetery on September 22nd at 2 p.m., Nativity Cemetery on the same date at 1 p.m. and St. Columban’s Cemetery on September 15th at 2 p.m. For Notre-Dame and Nativity Cemeteries, we hold the service at the cemetery, rain or shine. For St. Columban’s Cemetery, Fr. Ernest Emeodi will hold the service at the parish if weather is poor.

This year Fr. Callistus Ibe, the pastor from Blessed Sacrament parish will be joining us at Notre-Dame Cemetery. Fr. Emmanuel, pastor at Nativity Parish will be at Nativity Cemetery. We look forward to families joining us in prayer and hope that they will find some comfort by attending our service. We have beautiful locally crafted monument saddles, porcelain photos and bronze emblems which can be affixed to niche door fronts or monuments, as well as niche flowers and butterflies. These are all available for purchase at Notre-Dame Cemetery on South Branch Road to memorialize your loved ones.

December 4, 2019

Your loved one’s ashes…time to leave the mantle and bring them to their final resting place

The Vatican published guidelines in 2016 for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home, but should be stored in a sacred, church-approved place.

The Vatican said ashes and bone fragments cannot be kept at home, since it would deprive the Christian community as a whole of remembering the dead. Rather, church authorities should designate a sacred place, such as a cemetery or church area, to hold them.

All that to say, do you think your loved one wanted their eternal rest to be in a closet or on a shelf? There needs to be a final resting place for them. Feel comforted knowing that you can still pray and talk to them without them being in your home. Keeping them at home leaves you at risk of losing their remains in a fire or other natural disaster. There is closure in choosing a cemetery for your cherished one. Once your loved one is placed in the sacred area of a cemetery, all who loved and cared for them can pay their respects and visit.

For many people, visiting your loved one after they’ve been buried at the cemetery provides comfort and peace that they don’t experience elsewhere. For many people, there is a certain connection that can only be experienced at the burial site. People often visit a gravesite and talk with the one they’ve lost, sharing news, events and the emotions of their grief.

Often, cemeteries are quiet, peaceful and offer lots of green space and trees - which can provide a good environment for quiet reflection.

Many people visit a loved one’s gravesite on the anniversary of his or her death, birthday and other special days. They also take pride in tending to their gravesites, and find pleasure in keeping the gravesite looking fresh with pretty flowers. These kinds of rituals can be very comforting when you are dealing with loss.

At our cemeteries, we place urns in the columbarium niches year round and bury ashes from springtime until the frost comes in late autumn.