4. RITE FOR BLESSING A NEW CEMETERY*

* This blessing is reserved to the Ordinary or to a priest delegated by him. The rite given here is revised in accordance with the new Pontifical of 1962.

1. The blessing of a cemetery may take place on any day and at any hour, excepting only those days on which the consecration of a church is prohibited. It is permitted, however, on November 2, All Souls Day.

2. A wooden cross of convenient height is erected at the end of the cemetery opposite the entrance, unless there happens to be one there already.

3. The following things are prepared for the sacred action:

(a) a vessel of ordinary holy water and an aspersory made of hyssop if available;

(b) two torches for the acolytes and the processional cross;

(c) amice, alb, cincture, and a purple stole and cope; a gold- embroidered mitre and crozier (if a bishop is to preside); an amice, alb, and cincture for the deacon and subdeacon, as well as a purple stole for the deacon;

(d) an ornamented faldstool set on a carpet before the wooden cross;

(e) provision should be made so that the celebrant and his ministers have an open path to perform easily the ceremony of sprinkling.

4. The pastor or others concerned should see to it that the faithful not only are given a timely announcement of the blessing of the cemetery, but are also to be properly instructed on the rites and their signification. Moreover, they should be instructed that a cemetery is a sacred place, and be admonished to give it the respect due it.

5. At the proper time the bishop (or the delegated priest) goes to the cemetery which is to be blessed, and in a suitable place vests in the aforementioned vestments, being assisted by the deacon and subdeacon who are already vested.

6. Then, preceded by the acolytes with lighted torches, the crossbearer, and the clergy, he goes with his ministers to the place where the cross is erected. A bishop wears the mitre and carries the crozier, but gives them up when he comes to the cross. Next he says the following with all present making the responses:

Celebrant: God, come to my rescue.

All: Lord, make haste to help me.

C: Glory be to the Father, etc.

All: As it was in the beginning, etc.

7. After this, preceded by cross-bearer, acolytes, and the clergy, he walks around the cemetery grounds sprinkling them with holy water without saying anything. He starts behind the cross and goes around counterclockwise. During this time the choir sings (for the music see the music supplement):

C: Ant.: Purify me with hyssop, * Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 50

During this psalm the choir, if necessary, repeats the antiphon after every two verses. At the end of the psalm the usual doxology is omitted but the above antiphon is repeated. If the sprinkling is finished earlier the psalm is broken off and the antiphon repeated as a conclusion.

8. After this the celebrant, having handed over the aspersory and mitre, and standing before the cross and looking out over the cemetery sings with hands folded the following in the ferial tone:

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Lord God, Father of everlasting glory, solace of the sorrowing, life of the just, glory of the lowly, we humbly importune you to keep this cemetery free from any vileness of unclean spirits, to cleanse and to bless it, and finally to give lasting wholeness to the bodies brought here for burial. And at the end of time, when the angels sound their trumpets, let all who have received the sacrament of baptism, who have persevered in the Catholic faith until death, and who have had their remains laid to rest in this cemetery, be rewarded in body and in soul with the unending joys of heaven; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

9. Then again, preceded by cross-bearer, acolytes, and clergy, the celebrant (a bishop wears the mitre) sprinkles the cemetery without saying anything. In doing so he walks down the middle from the cross to the entrance, and then transversely in front of the cross, from the left side to the right. During this time the choir sings the following antiphon and psalm:

C: Ant. For your name’s sake, O Lord, * preserve me in your justice.

Psalm 142

During this psalm the choir, if necessary, repeats the antiphon after every two verses. At the end of the psalm the usual doxology is omitted, but the above antiphon is repeated. If the sprinkling is finished earlier the psalm is broken off and the antiphon repeated as a conclusion.

10. After this the celebrant, having handed over the aspersory and mitre, and standing before the cross and looking out over the cemetery, sings with hands folded the following in the ferial tone:

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, Creator of the world and Redeemer of mankind, who wondrously dispose the destinies of all creatures, visible and invisible; we humbly and sincerely beseech you to hallow, purify, and bless this cemetery, where the bodies of your servants are duly laid to rest, after the labor and fatigue of this life come to an end. Pardon, in your great mercy, the sins of those who put their trust in you, and graciously grant unending consolation to their bodies that will lie at rest in this cemetery, awaiting the trumpet-call of the Archangel Michael. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,

C: Forever and ever.

All: Amen.

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

C: Lift up your hearts.

All: We have lifted them up to the Lord.

C: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All: It is fitting and right to do so.

It is indeed fitting and right, worthy and salutary that we should always and everywhere give thanks to you, O Lord, holy Father, almighty everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. For He is eternal day, unfailing light, and everlasting splendor, who commanded His followers to so walk in the light as to escape the darkness of never ending night, and happily come to the abode of light. He is the One who in His humanity wept over Lazarus, and in His divine power raised up the dead, restoring life to that man four days consigned to the tomb. Through Him, then, we humbly entreat you, O Lord, that on the last day, at the angels’ trumpet-call, you would loose from the fetters of sin those who are buried in this cemetery, granting them everlasting happiness and numbering them in the ranks of the blessed. Thus may they come to know that you, our everlasting life, are merciful and benign, and may have cause to exalt you as the author of life and to sing your praises with the saints forevermore. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

C: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Deacon: Let us bless the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

11. After the blessing of the cemetery, if circumstances allow, the bishop or another priest celebrates Mass, which will conform to the day’s office; and in this Mass there is added under one conclusion the proper ritual collect (see no. 447 f of the new rubrics in the Missal), excluding all other non-privileged commemorations.

12. As the celebrant approaches the altar the introit antiphon is sung with its psalm as the length of time requires.

13. When the celebrant comes to the altar and has made the reverence, he omits the psalm and confiteor and at once ascends the altar, saying the usual prayers and then kissing the altar at the middle.

14. At the end of Mass the bishop gives the solemn blessing and announces the indulgences. The last Gospel is omitted, and all depart in peace.