December 12, 2019
The Diocese of Richmond is pleased to introduce the Office of Cemetery and Funeral Services to oversee cemetery operations, effective January 1, 2020. The existing Office of Cemeteries, which has assisted parishes through a contract with Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services (CFCS) since 2016, will be reconfigured into the new office.
Deacon Ed Handel will serve as the director of cemetery and funeral services. Deacon Handel currently serves as director of the diocese’s Office of Cemeteries.
Goals of the new Office of Cemetery and Funeral Services include the sound fiscal management of cemetery operations and to provide education on the benefits of pre-planning funerals and burials.
The diocesan Office of Cemeteries manages three diocesan regional cemeteries located in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Roanoke and is working with parishes on various projects. Most recently, during 2019, Deacon Ed has worked with St. Matthew, Virginia Beach, on a project to relocate the columbarium to another location on parish property and with St. Peter the Apostle, Lake Gaston, on the development of a new cemetery. Currently, the Office of Cemeteries is in the early stages of studying a plan to develop a new cemetery in Virginia Beach.
In looking at the budget for fiscal year 2019-20, it became evident that the cost of the management contracts with CFCS could not be financially supported by the size of the diocesan regional cemeteries. The growth of diocesan regional cemeteries, while a long-term goal, is requiring more time than anticipated, and the revenue projections do not justify the ongoing management and administrative oversight by CFCS.
CFCS has been a wonderful strategic partner over these past three years, and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has been the beneficiary of their expertise, visioning and leadership during this period of transition. CFCS will continue to be a resource as needed, and the diocese appreciates their assistance as the management and administration transitions back to the diocese.
A story on the establishment of the Office of Cemetery and Funeral Services will appear in the Dec. 16 issue of The Catholic Virginian.