CONSECRATION OF A CHURCH-YARD OR CEMETERY

[The following form is mainly taken from The Canadian Book of Occasional Offices, 1964.]

¶ Before the Consecration of a Church-yard or Cemetery takes place, the Bishop shall make certain that the ground is sufficiently enclosed and that reasonable provision has been made for its maintenance.  On the day of the Consecration, the Bishop, with Mitre and Staff, is vested with a white Cope.

¶ At the entrance of the ground or Church-yard to be consecrated, a Petition for its Consecration shall be presented to the Bishop.  

TO the Right Reverend N.N., Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of D. of the Original Province of the Anglican Catholic Church:  We the Incumbent, Churchwardens, and other inhabitants of [Parish name and City], having acquired the land described in the accompanying deed which we certify to be free from any legal encumbrance, do humbly pray you to separate the same from all profane and common uses, and to consecrate the said land, hallowing it as the last resting-place of the mortal bodies of our people. 

The Bishop receiving the Petition shall say,

THIS will I do with all reverence, in the Name of Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life.

¶ The Bishop removing his Mitre shall then pray,

PREVENT us, O Lord, in all our doings with Thy most gracious favour, and further us with Thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in Thee, we may glorify Thy holy Name, and finally by Thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

¶ Then, if conditions permit, the Bishop with his Mitre and the clergy and people shall walk round the portion of ground which is to be consecrated, the Bishop aspersing the ground, and all saying or singing Psalm xxxix.  If more time is required, Psalm xxiii, lc, and xiii, or any of them, may also be said or sung.

 Psalm xxxix.    Dixi, Custodiam

I SAID, I will take heed to my ways * that I offend not in my tongue.

I will keep my mouth as it were with a bridle * while the ungodly is in my sight.

I held my tongue, and spake nothing * I kept silence, yea, even from good words; but it was pain and grief to me.

My heart was hot within me, and while I was thus musing the fire kindled * and at the last I spake with my tongue;

Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days * that I may be certified how long I have to live.

Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long * and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee; and verily every man living is altogether vanity.

For man walketh in a vain shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain * he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.

And now, Lord, what is my hope * truly my hope is even in thee.

Deliver me from all mine offences * and make me not a rebuke unto the foolish.

I became dumb, and opened not my mouth * for it was thy doing.

Take thy plague away from me * I am even consumed by the means of thy heavy hand.

When thou with rebukes dost chasten man for sin, thou makest his beauty to consume away, like as it were a moth fretting a garment * every man therefore is but vanity.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and with thine ears consider my calling * hold not thy peace at my tears.

For I am a stranger with thee * and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength * before I go hence, and be no more seen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son * and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be * world without end.  Amen.

¶ Returning to a convenient place, the Bishop shall say,

THE glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us:  prosper Thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper thou our handiwork

¶ Then shall the Bishop, or some Clergyman appointed by him, read either the Lesson below or I Thessalonians iv.13 to end.

THE Lesson from the Gospel According to Saint John.  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.  He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.  Here endeth the Lesson.

 ¶ The Sentence of Consecration according to the form below shall then be signed by the Bishop and read aloud by him or someone appointed by him, and the same shall be ordered to be recorded in the Registry of the Diocese. 

SENTENCE OF CONSECRATION

WHEREAS a piece of land situate at [address] in the City of N., in the [County or District and State or Province, or other jurisdictions as appropriate], within our Diocese and jurisdiction, [description of the land, and of the title by which it is held, to be here entered], has been appropriated for the burial of the dead; and whereas the said piece of land is sufficiently enclosed and is now ready for Consecration; and whereas a Petition has been presented to us by the Incumbent, the Wardens, and others praying that we would be pleased to consecrate the said land:

NOW therefore, we N.N., by Divine Permission Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of D. do by virtue of the authority ordinary and episcopal to us committed, consecrate the said piece of land, and do set it apart from all profane and common uses, and do dedicate the same to Almighty God for the burial of the dead, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Anglican Catholic Church; that the bodies of the faithful may therein rest in peace and hope of the resurrection to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

AND we do pronounce, decree, and declare that the said land shall remain so consecrated, set apart, and dedicated; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

WITNESS our hand and seal, this ___ day of [month] in the year of our Lord Two Thousand [number] and of our Consecration the [number].

¶ Then the bishop, first marking upon the ground the symbol of our faith shall say,

BY virtue of our sacred office in the Church of God, we do now consecrate, and set apart from all profane and common uses this Ground to be a resting-place for the mortal bodies of those departed this life until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Resurrection and the life, and Who shall swallow up death in victory; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

O GOD, Who by the example of Thy holy servants in all ages hast taught us to assign particular places, where the bodies of Thy saints may rest in peace, whilst their souls are kept in the hands of their faithful Redeemer:  Accept, we beseech Thee, this charitable work of ours, in separating this portion of ground to that good purpose, and give us grace that, by the frequent instances of mortality which we behold, we may so number our days as to apply our hearts unto wisdom; so that by Thy mercy we may have our part in the resurrection to eternal life, with Him Who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, and now liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen.

O LORD Jesu Christ, Who by Thy death hast overcome death, and by Thy rising to life against hast restored to us everlasting life:  Grant to all Thy servants, who shall here be buried, that their bodies may rest in peace, and through the grave and gate of death they may pass to a joyful resurrection; through Thy merits, who livest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen.

O ALMIGHTY God, Who hast knit together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of Thy Son Christ our Lord:  Grant us grace so to follow Thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which Thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

MAY THE LORD of His mercy grant to us, with all the faithful departed, rest and peace.  Amen.

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