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Catholic Cemeteries of Halifax

Our Catholic Cemeteries have a two-fold purpose in the Community. They provide a permanent resting place for the mortal remains of our beloved dead and they are a comfort and inspiration to the living as a sign of the faithful that have passed before us and have entrusted this faith to the next generation of Catholics. They offer a comforting environment in which love for family and friends is remembered, hope is rekindled, and faith is awakened, renewed and strengthened. Faith and hope in our own resurrection are to be focal points in the way we celebrate the passing of a person from this life to the next. We celebrate with respect the earthly journey of someone who has been created in God’s image, has been baptized and redeemed through Christ’s death and resurrection, and who now has reached the promised destination, not the terminal point of one’s existence. The Catholic Cemetery is a sacred place; it is holy ground where our faithful departed await the resurrection to eternal life. This is why the grounds of the cemetery are cared for and made as attractive as possible, maintained in this way as a sign of respect for the dead who rest in peace. The special respect we accord to the faithful departed and the places where they rest remind us of our hope of joyfully greeting them again, when we will be with them and the Lord forever. Many of our older parishes have cemeteries on or near the grounds of the church, providing the opportunity to visit family graves when we visit the parish church. In the Halifax area, the Catholic Cemeteries of Halifax is responsible for three cemeteries: Gate of Heaven on Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville, Holy Cross on South Park Street in downtown Halifax, and Mount Olivet on Mumford Road, Halifax.

Our Cemeteries, Our History

Our Cemeteries, Our History

In remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the office of the Catholic Cemeteries of Halifax published, Gone But Not Forgotten: Victims of the Halifax Explosion in Catholic Cemeteries. The book details the stories of Explosion victims buried Holy Cross Cemetery on South Park St. in downtown Halifax and Mount Olivet Cemetery on Mumford Rd. in west end Halifax.

Cemetery Mass: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Cemetery Mass: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

The faithful are invited to gather for the annual Holy Cross Cemetery Mass on Friday, September 15 at 5:15pm on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Archbishop Anthony Mancini will celebrate this Mass in the Our Lady of Sorrows chapel, also known as the chapel built in a day. Access to this cemetery is through the main entrance on South Park St.

Please note: this mass will replace the 5:15pm mass at the Cathedral that day.

All are welcome!

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the policies, practices and administration of the Cemeteries.

Simply click on a specific question to view its answer. Links are provided within the answers when further information is available in our Rules and Regulations.

For more information or further clarification about these questions and answers, or any other questions please contact us at (902) 429-9800 ext. 308.

Considerations for:

  • For Burial:

    Why are cemeteries necessary?

    Why are cemeteries necessary?

    In our modern society, it is our responsibility to treat human remains (including cremated remains) with dignity and respect, and to place them on property dedicated for that purpose. Today's burial grounds, or cemeteries/memorial gardens, serve as a central location for survivors to visit, to reflect, to remember and to heal.

    Cemeteries also provide a link with history. Many people visit pioneer or veterans' cemeteries to remember, and be inspired by ancestors who developed our communities and served our country.

    Who can be buried in the cemetery?

    Who can be buried in the cemetery?

    The cemeteries are open to all.

    How do I make pre arrangements?

    How do I make pre arrangements?

    To make your personalized arrangements, call us at 902-429-9800 ext. 308 or contact us through our website www.ccchalifax.com so that we may set up a convenient time to explain the various options available and take you for a personal tour.

    Why should I pre arrange my cemetery needs?

    Why should I pre arrange my cemetery needs?

    By pre arranging your burial, your wishes are made clear. Advance planning is the best way to avoid heavier financial burdens in the future. Decisions are made apart from the emotions and stress of a death. We will assist you and respect your preferences - personal, family, emotional, financial and spiritual. We will make a full, unhurried, in-depth disclosure of all costs, so you can make prudent and informed choices in an atmosphere free from the anguish and grief that accompanies a death.

    How do I choose the right type of grave?

    How do I choose the right type of grave?

    Because it is an important question, many things must be considered. What type of memorial do you prefer? A marker set flat on the ground? An upright monument? How many burials do you expect to take place? Are you arranging for yourself or your family? How much do you want to spend? Answers to these types of questions will assist you to make the right purchase.

    What are my choices for traditional burial?

    What are my choices for traditional burial?

    We offer single graves and lots composed of two or more graves for traditional burials.

    What is a columbarium?

    What is a columbarium?

    A columbarium is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.

    What is cremation?

    What is cremation?

    Cremation is a method for preparing the deceased for memorialization (interment?). The process has been practiced throughout human history and is considered an alternative to traditional earth burial. Scientifically speaking, it is a process of reducing a deceased human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.

    Why do people select cremation?

    Why do people select cremation?

    The reasons for choosing cremation are as varied and unique as the individuals selecting it. Some choose cremation based on their feelings toward environmental issues and land usage. For many, it is a choice that reflects the individual's philosophical or religious beliefs. Others choose cremation to simplify the experience and save money.

    What can I do with the cremated remains?

    What can I do with the cremated remains?

    You have many choices. Cremated remains can be buried at one of our cemetery ground sites, or placed in a columbarium niche. Our staff will be happy to discuss placement options with you in more detail.

    If I'm going to be cremated, why would I want my remains interred at the cemetery? Why shouldn't I just have them scattered in the sea or in some other place of my choosing?

    If I'm going to be cremated, why would I want my remains interred at the cemetery? Why shouldn't I just have them scattered in the sea or in some other place of my choosing?

    Early Christians did not use cremation, but they buried their dead with honour following the Jewish tradition. Cremation as such was not incompatible with Christian teaching, but it was the motives that were suspect or considered pagan. With time, however, the Church lifted the ban on this practice. It is now acceptable to cremate remains unless the decision is made or reasons contrary to Christian teaching (canon 1176 § 3).

    Due to the great respect the Church has for the dignity, unity and sacredness of the person whose remains recall the life of a baptized child of God, she holds it important to maintain the same respect and care for cremated remains as for the body of the deceased (Liturgical Norms on Cremation, Congregtion for Divine Worship: Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix 2 "Cremation" No. 417). The Catholic funeral rites express that reverence and so must the burial, including burial of cremated remains. That is why the Church demands that they be kept undivided and that the container be buried in the cemetery or placed in a mauseleum or a columbarium designated for that purpose instead of having them scattered or kept in a private home. Scattering human remains or keeping them at home shows a tendency to look backward at a life that has passed rather than to look forward to the new stage of life with God that has been reached, which is, the life of the resurrection with Christ.

    The National Liturgy Office of the CCCB published in 2006 a leaflet entitled CATHOLICS AND CREMATION which addresses various questions about this reality and is still very timely. It could be put at the disposal of parishioners. www.nlo.cccb.ca

  • When Purchasing:

    What is a Maintenance and care fee?

    A portion of the purchase price of the grave is contributed to a maintenance and care fund. Income from the maintenance and care fund is used to provide regular care and maintenance at the cemetery. Regular care and maintenance activities can include: cutting grass, regrading of graves, planting and caring for trees, roads, drainage, etc.

    What is an interment fee?

    An interment is the opening and closing fee. The interment fee can include 50 or more separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the interment fee includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing at the grave site, leveling, tamping and re-grading.

    Can I have my cremated remains interred in an existing family grave plot?

    Cremated remains can be interred in existing family graves (depending on permission being given by the current lessee of the exclusive right of burial). Maintenance and Care fee applies as follows: Upon the sale of a single lot a Maintenance and Care fee will be charged. Upon the interment in a lot which was sold prior to the establishment of the Maintenance and Care Fund the current fee for Maintenance Care will be charged, and Interments in excess of one in a single lot will each be charged a Maintenance and Care fee. Please see our Rules and Regulations.

    What options are there for the interment of cremated remains?

    For those individuals who have chosen cremation there are a various options. The Gate of Heaven Cemetery and Mount Olivet Cemetery offer a niche in the columbarium or a grave site can be purchased for the interment of cremated remains. There are cremation gardens available at Mount Olivet Cemetery and Holy Cross Cemetery.

    Can I sell my burial space on the open market?

    No. The Gate of Heaven Cemetery does not recognize the sale of burial rights between private parties. However, burial rights may be transferred to another person, preferably a family member, by written notification to our business office. The Gate of Heaven Cemetery will purchase back vacant single and double grave sites at the owners original purchase price.

    Why wasn't I informed about a policy change?hy wasn't I informed about a policy change?

    Our 150-year historical databases are not updated to reflect generations beyond the original owners of burial rights. Contacting all owners, heirs of burial rights and other interested parties is, therefore, not possible. We make significant effort to communicate policy changes. This web site - www.ccchalifax.com - is the source of accurate, complete and up-to-date information.

    How do I control who will be buried in my burial space?

    The owner has exclusive and permanent right of use through an Indenture. Beyond the owner's spouse, who has full control and the first right of burial, this right passes to direct blood heirs immediately after the death of the original owner. A married couple is considered a joint owner.

    Written permission of the heirs may be required for burial. Beyond children, it is often very difficult to establish control and permission. Therefore, we strongly encourage all owners of burial rights to complete a Burial Right Assignment Form to make official burial assignments prior to their death. This will prevent unnecessary stress at the time when permission is essential. The document can be easily amended if new circumstances arise.

    What is a burial vault?

    This is the outside container into which the casket is placed. A burial vault is designed to protect the casket and keeps the grave surface from sinking in. Concrete burial vaults are available for purchase at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

    Why can't I decorate a grave or a niche any way I want?

    We strive to balance individual and family decoration choices with the overall administration of a large cemetery system to assure order, beauty and tidiness. By our policies we strive to avoid subjectivity and assure objectivity in handling decorations. Please see our Rules and Regulations, Boundaries and Care of Lots for more information.

    When I buy a grave do I receive a contract?

    When you purchase a grave you are in fact purchasing the right to designate who may be interred in the space, rather than purchasing the grave itself, which remains the property and responsibility of the cemetery. You will receive a copy of the Rules and Regulations for the cemetery. You also have a right to place a memorial on the grave site.

    How much do graves cost?

    Within the cemetery, grave prices can vary by the section in which the grave is located. For example, single section, double section and the number of interments permitted in a grave may also effect the price.

  • At The Time Of Death Or After:

    What should I do first when a death occurs?

    You may call us at (902) 429-9800 ext. 308 during our business hours for specific information on the services we provide during your time of need. We will coordinate our services with others from that point on.

    If you decide to use a funeral or cremation director, they are generally available to walk you carefully through all the necessary tasks, including securing the services of our cemetery.

    Can I obtain information on my family genealogy from the cemetery?

    Because we welcome and encourage frequent contact, our cemetery office staff responds to requests for burial locations related to personal visits and other cemetery related activities.

    If you are seeking background information about individuals buried in our cemeteries, please use the Interment Search option on our website.

    There will be a minimum $100 (including HST) charge per hour for genealogical information requests.

Gate of Heaven Cemetery

Gate of Heaven Cemetery

Located in Lower Sackville opening in 1938, the cemetery is 31 rolling acres of land for traditional and cremation burials for our beloved departed.

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Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross Cemetery

Located in Halifax opening in 1843, houses the chapel built in one day and is the resting place of many historical and Irish families.

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Mount Olivet Cemetery

Mount Olivet Cemetery

Located in Halifax opening in 1896. Those buried in the cemetery include people from the Titanic, the Halifax Explosion, and both the World Wars.

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Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth |1531 Grafton St. | Halifax, Nova Scotia | B3J 2B9 | P: (902) 429-9800 | F: (902) 423-5201
Hours:  Monday to Friday: 8:30am - 12:30pm & 1:30pm - 4:30pm