Rules and Regulations



 Dear Catholic Cemeteries Family,

Catholic cemeteries are holy places of prayer and remembrance. The Church honors the custom of families and visitors expressing love and devotion for departed loved ones by decorating graves. However, decorating must not create a safety hazard, impede proper maintenance, infringe on other graves, diminish the Catholic character of the cemetery, or offend others. For these reasons, Catholic Cemeteries employs regulations for the common good and seasonal cemetery clean-up days.

In the spirit of maintaining the sacred nature and dignity as well as the safety of the cemetery, the following will be enforced during next general cemetery clean-up, which begins on Thursday, November 16.  We ask for your understanding and your cooperation. Items that are not in compliance with our regulations will be removed and discarded at this time without further notice.


    • One solar/battery powered vigil light – no glass
    • Fresh or silk flowers in a self-draining vase
    • Annual plantings in beds 12-inches deep and the length of the memorial
    • One religious statue made of durable material (no glass or porcelain) – not permitted in flat marker sections
    • American flags from Memorial Day through Flag Day and on Veterans Day – installed three days prior to a holiday and through one week thereafter
    • Decor must be secured within 12” inches from the grave’s facade and not exceed the monument’s length

Not permitted (including, but not limited to, the following):

    • Border enclosures, fencing, decorative stones, shells
    • Shrubbery or roses
    • Glass, glassware, porcelain
    • Wax candles, votive candles, landscape lights
    • Toys, pinwheels, balloons
    • Bric-a-brac, shepherd’s hooks or other hanging devices such as wind chimes
    • Sprinkling cans
    • Fraternal flag holders
    • Sporting items, hats or similar articles
    • Nothing temporary affixed to monuments

Regrettably, the cemetery is not responsible for decorations or property placed at graves. Items that pose a safety hazard to visitors or staff will be removed as soon as identified and without notice.

The grave of a loved one is precious and cherished. Catholic Cemeteries Rules and Regulations are for the mutual protection of all individuals and families. They intend to help sanctify the memories of those buried within the cemeteries and to create an environment which awakens faith and brings consolation. These rules assist in protecting the cemeteries, creating and preserving their beauty, and ensuring that the interests of all concerned parties are addressed equally.  We thank you for your understanding and for your assistance in addressing this matter. May God bless you and your family.

The Office of Catholic Cemeteries

Click here to download the Short Version of the Rules and Regulations brochure.



Catholic cemeteries are by definition sacred space; the church offers them to help people face the hard reality of death within the context of the promise of eternal life. The church owns and operates cemeteries for the common good.

Catholic cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Newark are places of prayer for the dead. By encouraging frequent visits of families and friends of the deceased, the church seeks to foster an environment where love is remembered, hope rekindled, and faith awakened and strengthened.

This brochure explains some of the Rules & Regulations the cemeteries have adopted to:

ensure that the cemeteries are respected as sacred space, well-maintained, healing and inviting to bereaved families and friends;

protect the rights and the privileges of the deceased, all families using the cemeteries, and those having loved ones buried within them;

provide an environment that is safe and secure for those who visit the cemeteries as well as those who work within them.

A comprehensive set of Rules & Regulations govern the cemeteries. The certificates that are issued at the time of purchase and this booklet contain excerpts from the Rules that have been adopted both for good order and to manifest the church’s beliefs and teachings. All are subject to revision from time to time and copies can be reviewed or obtained at the various cemetery offices.

The Catholic cemetery traces its roots back to the Jewish practice of providing separate burial grounds for members of its community. The early Christians continued this practice, both because it was a familiar tradition, and also because it was a statement of faith about the dignity of the human body in death and the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.

Thus, the church’s practice of maintaining cemeteries flows from theology and history. At death we focus on Baptism and the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, nourished at the Eucharistic table. When we visit the graves or tombs of our loved ones, we experience that same Eucharistic dynamic. Often times we recognize the need for reconciliation with our beloved dead. Rooted in that recognition, we can then remember our beloved and give thanks for the life we shared.

Our cemeteries manifests the “now/not yet” status of the Kingdom of God. We are now a people of history, a people redeemed but still in pain and sorrow. In the future, with both the general and particular judgement, we will experience the promise of eternal life in God’s Kingdom. This is why we pray as Jesus did, “Thy Kingdom come…”

We are a people who come to our cemeteries to be reminded of our history, our Catholic beliefs and practices, and our community as identified in the various parishes of the Archdiocese of Newark yesterday, today and tomorrow. We, as a community, profess our beliefs and value system … even in the silence of the grave.

In the Catholic cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark our deceased relatives and friends are laid to rest among members of the same faith community who preceded them into eternal life, and professed the same sure conviction that one day the body will be reunited with the soul in glory to be with the Risen Lord. Then the kingdom of God will be fully realized.

Painful as it might be, we encourage you to return to the burial place of your beloved. Find there, in the presence of those mortal remains, one joined with the communion of saints. Join with us in prayer for the eternal rest of your beloved deceased. In the stillness of the cemetery, connect with that great prayer of the early Church, “Marana tha!” “Lord Jesus, come!”



The long-standing funeral and cemetery tradition of the Catholic church flows from fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith, i.e. the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the dignity of each human person, the importance of baptism into the faith, the promise of Jesus that one day we will also share eternal life, the value and need to pray for the dead, and the celebration of the Eucharist as the great act of memory and thanksgiving for redemption.
Death is rightly celebrated within a parish community where the bereaved find comfort, community, and strength in the Eucharist that is celebrated for them on behalf of their deceased relative or friend. The church provides the Order of Christian Funerals as the proper and fitting way for the death of a Catholic to be observed.
The church offers the Vigil, usually observed as a wake for the deceased in the funeral home. The Mass of Christian Burial is celebrated for the deceased in the company of family, friends, and the parish community at the parish church. Following the celebration of the funeral liturgy, it is proper that the Committal Rite and Farewell take place in a Catholic cemetery.
The Archdiocesan Cemetery Program is committed to helping families at the time of the death of a loved one. Our booklet, Continuing the Journey, Preparing a Catholic Funeral, is a step-by-step communication aid that will help make cemetery arrangements and Funeral Mass plans less overwhelming and more meaningful. This planning guide, written in accordance with the Order of Christian Funerals is also a valuable resource for families that are pre-planning their funeral. Booklets are distributed without charge and can be obtained at any cemetery office, or by calling [973] 497-7981, by email at or by visiting our website at



Following the celebration of the funeral liturgy, it is proper that the Committal Rite and Farewell take place in a Catholic cemetery. Following the celebration of the funeral liturgy, it is proper that the Committal Rite and Farewell take place in a Catholic cemetery.


Archdiocesan & Parochial Cemeteries

The Archdiocesan Cemetery Program is committed to helping families at the difficult time of the death of a loved one. Our booklet, Preparing a Catholic Funeral, is a comprehensive step-by-step communication aid that will help make cemetery arrangements and Funeral Mass plans less overwhelming and more meaningful. Booklets are distributed without charge and can be obtained at any cemetery office, by calling [973] 497-7981, or via email through



For Catholics, burial in a Catholic cemetery is a baptismal right; for those who do not possess this right, it is a privilege. Catholic cemeteries are intended for the interment of Catholics, catechumens, and members of their families who have this right to Christian burial according to the rules of the Roman Catholic Church. Questions concerning the burial of a non-Catholic member of an certificate-holder’s family should first be referred to the pastor of the owner’s family.

Burial arrangements are typically facilitated through the funeral home selected by the family. The certificate of the right of interment is the governing cemetery document. When an ownership certificate is not already held, selections must be made at the cemetery.

When space on an existing lot is available, but a designation of interment form has not been filed with the appropriate cemetery, and the certificate-holder is deceased and has not specifically passed the certificate rights through a will, a legal order of succession is followed. The succession begins with the surviving spouse and the owner’s children; in the absence of both then to the owner’s parents. If no parents are living, then the succession passes to the owner’s brothers and sisters equally, then to the owner’s closest next of kin. Further detail is found in the official cemetery Rules & Regulations.

For new selections, the cemetery staff is trained to explain the various alternatives with current and future costs. An interment space is used for ground burial, crypt entombment or niche inurnment. When a family wishes to include cremated remains in a full ground burial or mausoleum crypt interment space, the number of available certificate rights in the particular space is determined by space availability, memorialization capability, and the discretion of the executive director of cemeteries.

It is expected that all Catholic committals in archdiocesan cemeteries will be celebrated by a priest, deacon, or pastoral minister from the parish of the deceased.

At the time of interment, cemetery management reserves the right to limit the number of floral tributes to two [2] pieces. Flowers must be delivered to the ground interment site prior to the movement of the deceased to the grave. Flowers are not permitted inside any mausoleum. Flowers placed on a grave at the time of burial will remain, at the discretion of management, up to 72 hours, but the cemetery cannot ensure that these items will remain in place.



Because the cemeteries are operated under the auspices of the Catholic church, it is important to recognize that the burial of the dead is only one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. The church encourages frequent cemetery visits and prayer for the dead. Visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry are also works of mercy to also be encouraged. Performing them on behalf of our deceased loved ones are mitzvah [wonderful gifts that cannot be repaid] and truly honor the memory of the deceased in a tangible way.

We honor the tradition of visitors expressing their love and devotion by decorating graves where loved ones are buried. Our practice is to adorn burial spaces with flowers. Decorating, however, must be done in a way that does not create a safety hazard, impede proper maintenance, infringe on other graves, diminish the Catholic character of the cemetery, or offend others.

For these reasons, cemeteries adopt regulations for the common good. To be effective, it is sometimes necessary to take steps to uniformly enforce the regulations. For example, standing water in cemetery vases/pots can no longer be permitted because of the potential mosquito breeding ground associated with the West Nile Virus.

Cemetery offices maintain burial records to assist families in locating graves for the placement of floral tributes. The cemetery rules stipulate what decorations are acceptable. During the growing season, fresh/live flowers are encouraged; seasonal artificial flowers are permitted; all flowers must be placed in a self-draining pin-type vase. Because of the large volume, we cannot contact families if decorations are not in keeping with cemetery regulations. For families unable to visit graves, tributes are accepted from local florists and assistance with placement is offered.

Nothing temporary may be attached to monuments. Cemetery personnel are sensitive to various ethnic customs associated with decoration, especially at the time of death and burial, and will try to accommodate these customs whenever possible. Federal and state laws, insurance regulations and safety concerns, impact what is permitted.

These guidelines are only effective if observed by both visitors and employees:

The grave space of a loved one is precious and cherished. Parking therefore is restricted to pavement.

Planted flowers are encouraged during the growing season. Wire in artificial flower stems is a hazard to power mowers and operators. Artificial floral tributes may only be placed in self-draining vases.

Safety and moderation are the norms. No standing water can be allowed. Flowers that are placed in urns, pots, or self-draining vases should be dignified and tasteful. Items affixed to the outsides of containers or to monuments will be removed.

When families are large, many may wish to express love by decorating. If family members take turns, everyone’s needs are accommodated. Honoring the deceased through other Corporal Works of Mercy, identified earlier, is part of the Catholic tradition and encouraged.

Safety is important. Stands or metal legs used to elevate floral tributes are not permitted. Items attached to wood or metal stakes are hazardous to visitors and workers. As a general rule, such items will be removed as they are seen. The only exception to this is the flags placed during permitted times; shaft-type veteran and fraternal emblems cannot be used. Glass is easily broken in the cemetery and becomes a hazard; glass items are removed as soon as they are seen.

No alteration or enhancement of graves with landscape materials of any kind is permitted.



The Archdiocesan Cemetery Program supports the Archdiocesan Family Life Ministries Office. Helpful information about parish-based bereavement programs is available from cemetery/mausoleum offices, one’s local parish, the Family Life Ministries Office (973-497-4327), or the Archdiocesan Web Site:



Monuments: With the exception of the area already occupied by an additional marker, annuals may be planted during the growing season in beds [12″] deep and the length of the monument] in front of upright monuments, or in urns or holes that are part of monument bases. Flowers may not exceed fifteen [15″] inches in height. Seasonal artificial flowers will be permitted in a self-draining pin-type vase placed in the same monument planting area.

Flush Memorials: Annuals may be planted during the growing season in beds [12″] deep and the length of memorials. A single potted plant of live flowers [6″ minimum] is permitted on top of a flush memorial during the growing season. Flowers, including artificial winter decorations, may be placed to honor anniversaries and holidays.

Mausoleum: No floral tributes or other decorations may be placed on crypt fronts or inside mausoleums. Areas outside each mausoleum are designated for the placement of floral tributes which must also comply with seasonal requirements.

After general Fall clean-up, seasonal artificial floral tributes in self-draining, pin-type vases may be placed at appropriate times. No shrubbery, including roses, may be planted; nothing temporary may be attached or affixed to monuments.

Items which do not comply with regulations or become unsightly will be removed at the discretion of cemetery management.

Christmas greens [2′ in width only/pillow size/no full blankets] may be placed after November 17th. Because of high labor and disposal costs, families are asked to remove their own greenery from the cemetery. Greens not removed by owners will be disposed of after January 15th.



There are 4 ways in which decorations are usually removed:

Regular Maintenance: Items that are unsightly are removed each week during the growing season.

General Cemetery Clean-up: All decorations are removed from graves and private mausoleums each year on January 15, the Monday following Easter Monday, June 21 [the first day of Summer], and November 16. This is done to ensure a thorough cleaning of the properties. Notifications of these clean-up times are posted in advance at the entrances of all archdiocesan cemeteries. Due to the volume of decorations being removed, it is impossible to make provision to claim items after they have been removed. Therefore, should families desire to retain items, they must be removed prior to the scheduled clean-up dates.

Decorations not Complying with Rules: Cemetery employees work in the various sections of the cemeteries on a regular basis. As part of their responsibilities, they maintain the beauty and safety of the cemeteries. As instructed by the Cemetery Rules & Regulations, to ensure their safety, and the safety of all who visit the cemeteries, they are expected to remove decorations which are not in compliance.

Wind and Theft: Decorations may also be removed by either of these causes. As it is impossible for employees to be everywhere at all times, the cemeteries cannot assume liability for decorations. When items are blown about, the grounds crew has no choice but to dispose of them as replacement at specific sites is not possible.



Management seeks to maintain the archdiocesan cemeteries in a fashion that reflects the church’s teachings about the dignity of every human person. The Archdiocese of Newark maintains a Cemetery Trust Fund for this purpose.

This endowment fund enables the hired staff to maintain the archdiocesan cemeteries to a uniform standard. Staff responsibilities include the regular mowing of grass, trimming around monuments and memorials, fertilization and weed control.

The fund also enables the cemetery to seed new graves, repair older graves, level flush memorials, and repair monument foundations as required. For reasons of uniform beauty as well as safety and insurance concerns, only employees may cut, fertilize, and add chemicals to the landscape.

Shrubbery: No cemetery landscape items may be used for individual grave decoration. Management cannot control growth and assure pruning or removal when shrubbery grows too large. Therefore, shrubbery is not permitted. When shrubbery overshadows names on monuments, infringes on adjoining graves, or interferes with cemetery operations, it will be immediately removed without notice. Typically, overgrown items will be identified for removal each year prior to Memorial Day. Time will be allowed for families to contact the cemetery office to claim shrubbery; if responsible parties have not responded by August 1st, overgrown items will be discarded.

Memorial Tree Program: Cemetery management recently began this program. Additional leaf-bearing and ornamental trees will enhance the beauty of the properties. Trees will be purchased and placed throughout the cemetery by the cemetery management. Additional information is available through respective cemetery offices.

Water: During all but freezing months, water outlets that operate in the cemeteries enable families to tend to the flowers and plants placed at graves. Outlets are not intended for lawn sprinkling devices; when found, these will be removed. In compliance with New Jersey Health Statute 26: 3B-6, standing water is not permitted in any archdiocesan cemetery.

Refuse: Because of recycle and disposal challenges, we are becoming “carry-in/carry-out” facilities. A limited number of receptacles for extenuating circumstances are still located at each cemetery; trash, however, should never be abandoned along cemetery roadways.

American flags are flown daily in designated areas over all archdiocesan cemeteries to honor the military service of all veterans. Smaller flags are permitted on individual graves from Memorial Day thru Flag Day and on Veterans Day. Veterans Day flags may be placed 3 days prior to the holiday and remain one week after the holiday. All flags must be presentable and will be removed and disposed of according to the norms of the Quartermaster General of the United States Army. Shaft-type veteran and fraternal organization emblems are not permitted as flag holders. Brochures describing proper flag display protocols are available at all cemetery offices.



At the time of a death in a family, there are many obligations that fall upon survivors. The Archdiocese of Newark Catholic Cemetery Program highly recommends that all families consider purchase of grave, crypt or niche spaces in advance of immediate need.

This allows the time surrounding a death to be devoted to family members supporting one another and proper planning for the liturgical rites that will celebrate the deceased’s movement to eternal life.

Contact with any archdiocesan cemetery office will begin the flow of information about burial alternatives, associated costs, and payment options that may not be available in an immediate need situation.



Everyone buried in Catholic cemeteries deserves to be remembered by name. This is typically accomplished with flush markers and upright monuments. Within particular cemetery restrictions, the archdiocesan cemeteries accept flush granite or bronze tablets, and granite monuments according to the following:

The memorial type is determined by the type of grave selected. The Rules & Regulations define who has the authority or legal right to place or alter a memorial. Prior to manufacture of any memorial, monument companies must receive written approval from cemetery management for design, size, and inscriptions. Foundation and permit fees are collected by cemetery management prior to acceptance or alteration of memorials. Any alterations made to memorials require prior approval and authorization from the appropriate cemetery office.

Trees and shrubbery are not permitted in holes or granite urns attached to memorial bases. Because of the growing threat from the West Nile Virus, no standing water is permitted in any device in any archdiocesan cemetery property.

Monuments and memorials are the property and responsibility of the purchaser. Foundations are the responsibility of the cemetery. The cemetery must always have a current contact name and address. Future services may be required for memorials placed in the cemetery, e.g. re-sealing granite/marble components.



For the Deceased:

Almighty God and Father,
it is our certain faith that your Son,
who died on the cross, was raised from the dead,
the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.
Grant that through this mystery
your servant, _____________
who has gone to rest in Christ,
may share in the joy of His Resurrection.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

For Ourselves:

Father of mercies and God of all consolation,
you pursue us with an untiring love
and dispel the shadow of death
with the bright dawn of life.
Comfort us in our sorrow.
Be our refuge and our strength, O Lord,
and lift us from the depths of grief
into the peace and light of your presence.
Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
by dying has destroyed our death,
and by rising has restored our life.

Enable us therefore to press on toward Him,
so that, after our earthly course is run,
he may reunite us with those we love,
when every tear will be wiped away.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.



980 Huron Road Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417
[201] 891-9191 FAX [201] 891-3329

Gate of Heaven Chapel Mausoleum
225 Ridgedale Avenue East Hanover, NJ 07936
[973] 887-0286 FAX [973] 887-3410 Mausoleum [973] 428-1626

Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum
340 Ridge Road North Arlington, NJ 07031
[201] 997-1900 FAX [201] 997-6664 Mausoleum [201] 997-5763

823 West Side Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07306
[201] 433-0342 FAX [201] 433-5526

125 Central Avenue East Orange, NJ 07018
[973] 678-3757 FAX [973] 678-7109

770 Darlington Avenue Mahwah, NJ 07430
[201] 327-7011 FAX [201] 236-3842

Good Shepherd Chapel Mausoleum
53 Inman Avenue Colonia, NJ 07067
[732] 388-0311 FAX [732] 388-6834 Mausoleum [732] 388-8990

ST. PETER CEMETERY [1849], Jersey City
Operated from Holy Name Cemetery
ST. MARY CEMETERY [1887], E. Orange
Operated from Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
ST. ANDREW CEMETERY [1900], River Vale
Operated from Maryrest Cemetery