July 31, 2022 - Pastor Message08/10/2022
“A report reached David that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul. So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them: ‘May you be blessed by the Lord for having done this kindness to your lord, Saul, in burying him. And now may the Lord be kind and faithful to you. I too will be generous to you for having done this’” (2 Samuel 2:4-6).
Burying the dead has long been a noble act and serious obligation in our faith tradition. We are blessed here at St. Boniface with many staff members and volunteers who help carry out this important ministry, from the time a family approaches us about purchasing a cemetery plot, through the funeral Mass and luncheon, to the digging and refilling of the grave.
The obligation to bury the dead extends beyond the funeral itself, however. It also includes our obligation to maintain the cemeteries where our beloved dead are buried. Parish cemeteries are sacred ground, and we have an obligation to maintain them with the dignity and care that they deserve. We thank our cemetery committee and the volunteers and staff members who carry out this work in our three parish cemeteries.
It is with that need to preserve the dignity and care of our cemeteries in mind that we have revised our burial policy. Effective this year and consistent with other neighboring cemeteries, we will no longer conduct burials or in-ground interment of cremated remains from November 15 - April 15. Anyone who saw Mount of Olives Cemetery this past winter can attest to the damage that winter burials can do to the ground in such wet soil. Through the fault of no one, the heavy equipment we and vault companies use for burials sinks deeply into the soil, tearing the ground up and leaving large, muddy trenches, which quickly fill with water. We cannot allow that to continue; hence the new policy.
This policy affects only burials and in-ground interment. Funerals, both Masses and services outside of Mass, will continue year-round, as will interment of cremated remains in our St. Mary Magdalene Columbarium. For burials and in-ground interment of those who pass away from November 15 - April 15, families are asked to make arrangements with your funeral director to store the body or cremated remains respectfully after the funeral until burial is possible, for which local funeral directors have established procedures. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the office. Let us continue to work together to fulfill our shared sacred duty of burying the dead with dignity and maintain the sacred ground of our cemeteries with the same respect.
Fr. Marc Stockton