Dear Families, Friends and Funeral Directors,
Over the past several weeks Gethsemane and St. Mary cemeteries have implemented several changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help protect our staff, clients and visitors. We suspended Chapel Masses, pre-need sales appointments and transitioned administrative staff to a remote work platform. Our goal has always been and will continue to be to assist our families at their time of need by continuing to provide essential burial services.
On the advice of civil and ecclesiastical authorities and an Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, dated March 23, 2020 and since amended to include the County of Berks, I am sorry to say that, although temporary, additional protocols must be implemented. Unfortunately, we are facing a public health pandemic and the safety and health of our staff, visitors and clients must be priority.
To the public.
- Our mausoleums will be closed to the public for visitation.
- The grounds remain open, but we must insist on social distancing.
- If you have a pet with you, please stay on the roads, your pets MUST be on a leash and you MUST clean up after your pet.
- Our office is closed, but staff will be working remotely and maintaining normal business hours. Most inquiries can be handled via telephone or email and we have multiple online and mobile resources listed below.
To our Funeral Directors and Families at a time of need
- We will continue to provide at-need burial services.
- In-ground funeral services will only take place at the graveside. Please note that tents will not be permitted at this time.
- The mausoleum will be opened at the time of arrival for an indoor, above-ground funeral service.
- Interment Authorizations will continue to be handled electronically. Please do not send family members directly to the cemetery.
- Attendees of the funeral service will be limited to the funeral director and two members of their staff, the clergy and up to 10 members of the family.
- In order to provide for social distancing of the funerals themselves as well as the attendees, we will work with the schedules of both you and the family, but we may prescribe the date and time of the arrival of your service. Funeral attendees meeting at our cemeteries will only be permitted under certain circumstances and only on case by case basis.
- Families will be asked to depart immediately after the conclusion of the committal service.
- Please be aware that our staff have been instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
We understand these protocols are a major departure from the norm and rest assured, we are constantly evaluating alternative options. We look forward to seeing our visitors once again enjoying the peace and beauty of our cemeteries and we ask for your patience and understanding during these difficult times.
I will continue to pray for the health and well-being of everyone during this time of challenge and will remain,
Gethsemane and St. Mary Cemeteries