In May 2006, the St. Thomas Cemetery Board published changes concerning the decoration of graves. After much reflection and the review of practices at other cemeteries, the Board of St. Thomas Cemetery began implementing the changes on September 2006. The regulations concerning decorations are summarized below:
Live and artificial flowers will be allowed only during Memorial Day observance. The period of observance will be from 5 days before until 7 days after Memorial Day.
All flowers, ornaments, shepherd hooks and anything that will interfere with mowing must be removed after Memorial Day.
Reasons for these regulations are listed below:
SAFETY. Plastic flowers get strewn about by the wind, and the mower chops them up and sends their heavy wire zinging. And wind chimes eventually fall to the ground and become missiles after passing through the mower. Some of this flying debris recently sent a girl to the doctor.
Shepherd hooks have also caused injuries. Even with care, the mower will occasionally hit one, bend it over, and the hook will whip back into the cab of the mower. Cemented-in shepherd hooks are especially bad.
MOWING. Getting the cemetery well-groomed for Memorial Day is always a challenge because of our late spring. And when the groundskeeper has to get off his mower and hand trim around hundreds of upright ornaments it is nearly impossible. The ornaments were so numerous that, in some places, the mower could not pass among them. All this reduces the time available to fill sunken graves and straighten leaning headstones.
DIGNITY. Some of us prefer to express our bereavement at the cemetery with bird feeders, balloons, propellers and various ornaments; while others want quiet and simple reflection. And both ways are acceptable. With these regulations, the Board has tried to allow for some individual expression of bereavement while still maintaining the overall dignity of the cemetery.
We hope that each spring around Memorial Day, when new life emerges everywhere, that our cemetery, too, will bloom with the colorful remembrances of our departed loved ones.
With guidance from Diocesan regulations, consideration for the common good and concern for the dignity of the deceased, the Board commits itself to the care of St. Thomas Cemetery.
Please call a member of the Board if there are questions.
Fr. Ben Hadrich, Tom Sakry, Ed and Joan Baron, Jackie Glowack, Jerome Brekke, Charlene Jensen, Board of St. Thomas Cemetery.