Concerns growing over cemetery use

Jocelyn Turner
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Dick Bristol entered the Saint Charles-Nativity Roman Catholic Cemetery to visit the graves of his parents and replace some lights he had placed there. He was approached by one of the maintenance workers and told they would be removed. Bristol now wonders what his rights are when he visits his parents. 

Amherst Daily News

AMHERST - He just wanted to visit his parents. Their graves, located in the Saint Charles-Nativity Roman Catholic Cemetery along East Pleasant Street, was a place Dick Bristol took to visiting and putting little lights up at their graveside so he could see them at night.

When the lights burned out, Bristol returned to the gravesite to replace them. As he was doing so, he said he was approached by one of the groundskeepers. He said the gentleman who approached him said he hoped Bristol had not spent too much money on the lights. Bristol decided against replacing the light and threw out the old one.

“We’re not here to argue,” said Bristol. “But how would you feel if you just buried your mother and father and you put a light there and you came up the next day, and it’s gone? Now I’m beginning to wonder what my rights are. Do I touch the stone, am I allowed to visit?”

Father Driscoll of the Holy Family Parish church said the rules and regulations regarding the cemetery were placed well before he came to the church 15 years ago. He was willing to set the record straight.

“They are allowed to put the grave saddles that go on top of the grave stones, and that’s all,” he said. “We just find it impossible to maintain the grounds properly (with excess) and we’re not the only cemetery that does it. If you go to areas like Joggins, you see the same thing.”

The rules, Driscoll said, help keep the cemetery looking clean and protect the maintenance workers who tend to the grounds.

Bristol’s wife Carol said she was a little surprised by the incident. She said the cemetery on West Victoria had lots of light on at night. She didn’t think placing a light or two at the site of her mother-and father-in-laws graves would cause any harm.

“Some people you notice they do it to excess, so it’s very difficult (for the groundskeepers) to maintain around. That’s not what we were doing,” she said. “So does everyone need to be penalized because someone decided to make a shrine out of a grave?”

Organizations: Daily News, Holy Family Parish church

Geographic location: East Pleasant Street, Joggins

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Recent comments

  • amherstonianforlife
    September 18, 2012 - 18:48

    my first question is how do u put a "grave saddle" on top of a head stone that is not allowed to be raised out of the dirt according to the same catholic cemetery rules? I guess what this really says is that the cemetery staff 15 years ago and today have a similiar work ethic and respect for the deceased whoms final place of rest is there. Possibly non existant and it proves that the adjacent cemeteries have a higher class of grounds keepers than the catholic section.......... If the rules have been in place for 15 years why are they all of a sudden being enforced now and not the last 15 years? I have a suggestion. Since the staff are too lazy to move things and put them back or work around them, maybe their lazyness will fix the problem. If everyone who has a loved one buried in the Catholic cemetery went to dollarama every Sunday afternoon and purchased one bunch of flowers for $1.25 and placed them on their loved ones graves the staff will be mighty busy removing flowers. After a few weeks of bending over to remove all those flowers it might not become an issue anymore................. any one agree ?

  • marie
    September 14, 2012 - 18:57

    I think that people who want to place lights and flowers on the graves should be allowed after all people do buy their lots and should have the right to pay their respect to the dead what next will they be doing telling us how to die

  • Right to Honor Grave Site
    September 14, 2012 - 17:13

    This rule in the Catholic cemetery is unacceptable. When it is allowed in the cemetery adjacent to it. What harm or potentially reason for harm for 2 solar lights being placed by a headstone be to the groundskeepers? Anyone who has lost a loved one... want to naturally keep the light on in dark places... Me included. Is getting to be too many rules and regulations on paid for grave sites... that were not in effect when they were bought.