Norwich Diocesan Cemeteries carry out the sacred religious rites of providing for the burial and care of the resting places of the deceased. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and precautionary quarantining, in the spirit of “One Faith, One Family,” our ministry has found ways to be available and provide services during this difficult and stressful time.
Keeping cemeteries open so families may visit the graves of their loved ones, along with providing burial services for nine diocesan cemeteries, is part of our mission (acts of corporal and spiritual works of mercy). But it is not work that can be performed remotely. Our experienced staff is essential to the cemetery operations and keeping them safe and healthy during this public health crisis is a main priority.
The services we provide to families continue to be handled with respect and dignity, but with attention to CDC and Governor Ned Lamont’s recommended guidelines to protect everyone involved. We have closed our office to the public, so routine transactions are now done by phone, email and the postal service. It’s an adjustment, but the work is still getting done.
We protect our staff by not sharing office space or equipment with fellow employees, maintaining social distancing, wearing masks when necessary and allowing only one person to ride in a diocesan vehicle at a time. Common office or cemetery equipment storage space is cleaned and sanitized daily, and graveside funeral services are limited to 10 people. Visitors and volunteers are not allowed inside the office at this time, and ministry employees using second floor cemetery offices use a separate entrance when entering and leaving the building.
Additionally, our Diocesan Properties staff has been working behind the scenes in buildings around the diocese, cleaning and disinfecting so other ministry employees will have a safe office space to work in when they’re not working remotely. Every job here at the Diocese of Norwich is essential, and doing what we can to ensure the health and wellbeing of our work family while keeping operations running continues to be our priority.
By Jennifer Fowler, Diocesan Properties & Cemeteries
“I would like to thank the Properties & Cemeteries staff for their loyalty and willingness to serve the Diocese and its ministries as we all go through this difficult time.”
– Joseph “Joe” M. Muscarella, Director, Diocesan Properties & Cemeteries