For inquiries, contact

Deacon Greg Ouellette 

Tel: 780  645 3277 ext. 212

Mathieu Lefebvre
Tel: 780  645 3277 ext. 212


A.  Introduction

“We prepare the living for the life to come; we bury the dead in the Catholic tradition; and we comfort the living with compassion and care.”

The Catholic funeral provides courage and comfort for those mourning the death of a loved one. The Mass of Christian Burial especially expresses our faith in Jesus’ victory over death and our personal share in the resurrection. This is done through prayers and blessings, through scripture readings and music, through rituals and symbols. The more actively a family plans the ceremony, the more they are able to participate in the ceremony and therefore experience its consolation and strength.

“A Catholic cemetery is also a visible sign of our belief in the in the resurrection and recalls the unity of the living and the dead. Within this blessed environment, the love of Christ is manifested for all to see.”

In our mainly rural Diocese we have nineteen (19) parish communities with resident priest/pastors (three of them also have a priest/associate pastor). However, chancery documents indicate that we have some eighty (80) Catholic cemeteries within the territory of the Diocese.

Some of these cemeteries belong to larger parishes and are pastorally and administratively well managed from either the parish office or parish volunteer cemetery committees. But there is a majority of these cemeteries which were connected to small rural mission chapels which no longer exist. Therefore their usage for Catholic burials and their maintenance devolves to, either the nearest active parish or in some cases, the Diocese.

B.      Cemetery Specific Policy:

1. Church Ownership

Cemeteries remain under the control of the parish, which remains in general charge of the land. All Catholic cemeteries are blessed so that all graves are considered to be in blessed grounds. Individual graves in a municipal or rural cemetery should be blessed if no portion of the land has been designated as a Catholic burial ground.

2. Plot size and encasements

As a general rule, the burial plot should be at least four feet six inches by nine feet six inches (137x290cm) and a plot for the burial of ashes should be at least two feet by two feet (60x60cm).  Two sets of ashes may be buried on top of an existing grave with the permission of the family of the deceased.  Ashes should be buried a minimum of eighteen inches (46cm) below the surface level of the soil.  However, note that some families may choose to buy a plot for the burial of ashes.

Encasements are required for the burial of the body of the deceased.  They may be available for the burial of ashes.

            3. Decorations and Memorial Items

Families may place flowers, wreaths or other memorial items near the grave of a loved one.  These should not interfere with the maintenance of the cemetery.  Real or artificial flowers in good condition will remain at the graveside or the tombstone until such time as family members determine that they should be removed.  However, flowers, wreaths or other memorial items that are a detriment to proper grass cutting or maintenance or are faded will be removed as a regular part of cemetery maintenance. All artificial flowers that are to be permanent should be affixed to the monument where it will be the responsibility of the family should these have to be removed or replaced.

4. Markers and Monuments

Markers are owned and are the responsibility of the family of the deceased.  The markers may be re-aligned or leveled by the cemetery maintenance staff but the family must do any repairs or modifications.  Unsafe markers may be removed only after the deceased’s family has been contacted and has refused to correct the situation.

The only markers allowed in most our cemeteries are the type known as pillow monuments or the flat types that must fit on the runner or sidewalk at the head of the graves. These markers are the safest and require minimum maintenance over the years and families should be encouraged to use these. Monuments may be up to a maximum height of 40 inches (100 cm.).  These do not encourage vandalism and facilitate the care and maintenance of our cemeteries. However, the monuments must at all times be assessed for safety and should not present any hazard to those who may visit the cemetery. If the parish council so desires, it may allow other markers or monuments.

5. Cemetery Register

Each cemetery is to have a complete cemetery record, which should include a map of the plots, the names and owners of grave easements, notations of the amount paid and entries of burials (indicating the physical location where the deceased is buried and the plot number of the grave).

It is the parish priest (pastor) or his delegate who is responsible for maintaining cemetery registers and maintaining plot maps of the cemetery in order to identify burial plots.  Note that cemetery plots are not sold, but the cemetery owner grants the right of burial to the owner of the easement.

6. Exhumation

No disinterment from the grave or removal of a body or cremated remains from a Catholic cemetery may be allowed without the consent in writing of the surviving husband, wife, or next to kin. Also required is the written permission or order from the owner of the easement of the grave, or his lawful representative, the approval of the Bishop or Vicar General or Chancery Office and the proper documents required by civil law.

7. Fees

There shall be no fee charges for plots that had already been reserved and paid.

Each parish is to set the fees. A suggested minimum for a burial plot in a cemetery that may no longer be attached to a church (e.g.: Therien, Warspite) will be $400.00 per burial.

The suggested minimum for plots in a cemetery attached to a parish (such as St. Paul, Morinville or Bonnyville) will be $300.00.

A suggested price for a plot for cremated remains will be $100.00.

These fees do not include the opening and closing of the plot.

However, if a new plot is sought, the price for the plot should remain the same as that charged for a burial of a body.            

If a cemetery has a reserved area where smaller plots are available for the burials of ashes only, a minimum fee of $50.00 should be charged.

These fees will vary from parish to parish and may be much higher in newer cemeteries and may be dependant on the local price structure.

8. Perpetual Care Fund

Half of the fees collected from the sale of the plots are for the perpetual care of the cemetery and should be set aside in a Perpetual Care Fund, the interest of which shall be used only for the maintenance of the cemetery.


More information and guidance in regards of Funerals can be found in the Order of Christian Funeral published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Further regulations regarding the sale of cemetery supplies, disposition of remains, operation of cemeteries, mausoleum or columbarium can be found in the Cemeteries Act available at the diocesan offices or through the Queen’s Printer.