This pandemic sure has stunk. In so many ways. The loss of life we’ve experienced — well over 70,000 Americans — is not anything any of us could have fathomed even so much as three months ago.
Yet it’s a reality — and one that was made all the more difficult to deal with knowing that for countless families, the ability to mourn properly was just not possible.
This was made all the more unbearable with the other reality that when someone was to be buried in a Catholic cemetery, only two family members could appear graveside, with a priest and funeral director … until now.
An op-ed penned to this newspaper by Andrew Schafer, the executive director of the Archdiocese of Newark’s Cemeteries Office, clearly explained why it was necessary to limit the number of people at graveside services and why the cemetery was otherwise closed to the public. But that has all been adjusted. And we’re grateful that it happened after a video we shot, live, at the cemetery. That video had nearly 13,000 viewers and made a difference.
A few days ago, on Mother’s Day, those who wished to visit their deceased loved ones were able to do so. Just a few days ago, the archdiocese began allowing up to 10 mourners to attend graveside services. Beginning next Monday, May 18, visitors will be able to visit graves between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., every Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday moving ahead.
These changes were absolutely necessary and we commend Schafer, Maria Margiotta, the archdiocesan director of communications and, of course, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, for making this happen. It will all require social distancing and proper face coverings — so to all who will now be able to go to Holy Cross and other Catholic cemeteries, we plead with you to do you part to ensure fellow cemetery visitors are allowed to be safe. The archdiocese did a great thing. Now, we most do our part to comply.
And there is no room for disagreement there.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.