UPDATED BURIAL PROCEDURES
Updated April 23, 2020
For the duration of the Province of Ontario's State of Emergency Declaration, The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Hamilton is changing the operating procedures at the cemeteries it operates. The following measures will be put in place:
- Where feasible, all cemeteries will have one operating entrance.
- Where feasible, cemeteries will be open to the public for visitations. This may change without notice.
- All masoleums remain closed to the public.
- Prayer services at burials will continue.
- Attendance at burials remains limited to 10 people, not including the Funeral Home and Cemetery staff. NOTE: Clergy are part of the 10-person limit.
- Mausoleum attendance at entombments for non-COVID-19-related deaths remain limited to 10 people.
- Prayer services for mausoleum entombments for COVID-19-related deaths are to take place outside of the mausoleum.
- Flowers are not to be left at the mausoleum for entombments.
- No interments or entombments will take place until the family and Funeral Home staff have left the cemetery.
- Funeral Homes requiring assistance at the cemetery should contact the cemetery a day or two in advance of the burial. The Catholic Cemeteries may be able to faciliate roadside prayer services within the cemetery grounds. This could assist with a shortage of pallbearers.
- Cemetery staff will do their best to ensure that the attendance rules are followed. Family in attendance at burials who do not follow the attendance rules outlined above, or any other part of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will be responsible for the fines and penalties as stipulated. A copy of the News Release from the Government of Ontario may be found here.
- In order to assist in enforcement of the EMCPA, the cemetery entrance will be closed or blocked before a burial takes place. Only staff from the Funeral Home and 10 other attendees will be allowed into the Cemetery.
- By-law officers may also be allowed in the cemetery during a burial
- Funeral Homes should contact the cemetery approximately 15 minutes before they arrive at the cemetery to ensure that cemetery staff will be available to allow access to the cemetery
- No visitors to the cemetery will be allowed during a burial
- Visitors already in the cemetery prior to a burial may be asked to leave, or may find that they may not be able to leave once a burial has begun. They may have to wait until the prayer service is completed before being allowed to leave
- Once the prayer service has concluded and the Funeral Home staff and family have left the cemetery grounds, the cemetery will be re-opened to the public.
These procedures will be in place during the State of Emergency. These procedures may be updated or changed without notice at any time.
We appreciate and understand what our families are dealing with at this very difficult time in their lives. It is truly unfortunate for families to have to deal with the loss of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all pray that this State of Emergency will be over as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in these difficult times.
THE CATHOLIC CEMETERIES OF THE DIOCESE OF HAMILTON
UPDATED COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
Updated April 3, 2020
The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Hamilton is committed to serving our families and working to ensure their health and safety. We are equally committed and focused on the health and safety of our employees. We are therefore adjusting our operations and levels of public interaction in an effort to do our part to slow the transmission of the virus. Please know that we are taking extra precautions to keep our facilities and offices sanitized. Our office remains open to serve you and your family. Please review the following information:
Safe Distance Protocol
The Catholic Cemeteries has implemented a Safe Distance Protocol. We ask that there be no physical contact such as handshakes or hugs, and our employees will observe a 6-foot distance with visitors wherever possible.
All visitors will be screened:
- Do you have any of these symptoms?
- Difficulty Breathing/Shortness of Breath
- Have you travelled outside of the country within the last 14 days?
- Have you or any member of your immediate family been in contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19?
- Have you or any member of your immediate family been advised to self-isolate?
- Has Public Health been involved?
If a visitor answers YES to any of the above questions, we ask that they kindly return home and call us to make arrangements by alternative means (phone/email, etc.).
For All Office Appointments, Cremation and Interment Services
- Any individual who is under self-isolation or does not pass the self-screening test is not permitted to attend any of our offices, cemeteries or mausoleum building for any reason.
- While the outdoor cemetery grounds remain open, we recommend that visits unrelated to an interment service be avoided.
- Our mausoleum buildings are closed for visits that are unrelated to attendance at an entombment.
- Our reception rooms at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Burlington and Marymount Cemetery, Guelph are not available for use.
- In accordance with directives from the Province of Ontario and the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, the number of attendees permitted at any committal service is 10, including clergy.
- Office appointments that are non-essential and unrelated to an immediate burial arrangement must be completed by telephone or other electronic means. Walk-in visits without an appointment will not be permitted.
- Our main office at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery will be open for regular office hours, but will close at 12:00 noon at Saturdays.
Please be reminded of our Safe Distance Protocol to which all attendees will be required to adhere and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from employees at all times. Immediate family viewing the closing of a grave (lowering of the casket) must return to the roadside for the health and safety of all. Families attending mausoleum entombments must exit the building immediately following the committal prayers, and may not witness the entombment process.
Interments/Entombments for COVID-19-related Deaths
- For interment inside a mausoleum, committal services must take place outside the main doors of the mausoleum. Once the committal service is complete, the casket or urn will be left outside the entrance door. Once the family has returned to their vehicles, the cemetery staff will proceed with the entombment. For an outdoor crypt or columbarium niche, staff will complete the entombment once the family has left the vicinity of the burial space.
- For in-ground burial, caskets will be placed into the concrete container (liner or vault) immediately upon arrival at the grave. All other protocols indicated above will be enforced.
Thank you for adhering to these protocols and for your understanding and patience during these unprecedented times. We pray for those infected with COVID-19, those caring for the sick and for one another.
April 2, 2020
Our Director of Cemeteries has released an updated statement concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read it.
Bereavement Authority of Ontario Directive
April 1, 2020
Please be advised the the Registrar of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario has issued a directive to coincide with direction from the Province of Ontario. Attendees at a funeral may not number more than 10, including clergy. Please visit the BAO's website for further information.
MAUSOLEUMS CLOSED TO VISITORS
March 18, 2020
In response to recommendations from the Ontario Association of Cemetery & Funeral Professionals, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, and the Province of Ontario's State of Emergency Declaration, our mausoleum buildings are closed to visitors until further notice except for entombment services.
March 16, 2020
Art Smith, Director of Cemeteries, has issued a memo concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. To read the memo, please click here.