Who we are at Catholic Cemeteries – Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Catholic Cemeteries exists to meet the needs of individuals and parishes in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in preparation for, at the time of, and following the death of a loved one. The ministry we provide extends into the area of liturgy, prayer, comfort, support, grief and evangelization. Our ministry is rooted in the reality of the human person as an embodied spirit. That embodiment is sacred, for it locates the human spirit in history and in place.
As with most ministries, those who work in the Office of Catholic Cemeteries deal with a multitude of issues. First there is the practical: the burial of the dead. The cemeteries are there to handle the dignified disposition of the deceased. Next there is the historical: maintaining the records for perpetuity to identify the proper location of the burial place. There is also the emotional, helping families deal with the painful loss of separation.
We attempt to accomplish this by maintaining a beautiful and comforting setting where a family can come to remember and memorialize their loved one. We also support the parish bereavement groups and facilitators and assist with a bereavement conference with the Office of Faith Formation. Another role is stewardship, as we must attend to financial matters to assure that the funds are available for the care of the cemeteries both in the present and for the distant future.
Most importantly, we attend to the spiritual needs of the families we serve. Through the celebration of the Eucharist at the Saturday Masses and other liturgical celebrations throughout the year, we share our belief in the Hope of the Resurrection and the great Paschal Mystery, from death comes life, so that the people of God may find comfort in the understanding that life is changed, not ended.
Catholic Cemeteries holds several events each year. Some of these events have been around for decades while others have been a tradition from its inception. Memorial Day Chapel/Field Mass Celebration, All Souls Day Chapel/Field Mass Celebration, Candle Lighting Vespers Service (Cemetery Sunday), Parish Cemetery Pastor/Staff Educational Training Meetings, The Way (Stations) of the Cross, Bi-Monthly Celebration of the Eucharist, and Bereavement Training Workshops and Conferences.
The principle remains that Catholic cemeteries are an integral part of the Church's traditions and rites. In the Code of Canon Law, Catholic cemeteries-like churches, chapels, shrines and altars-are considered "sacred places." They are given a special blessing to set them apart and to highlight their sacred character.