Archbishop Leo Blesses Restored Cemetery at St. John the Evangelist in Weston

Archbishop Leo Blesses Restored Cemetery at St. John the Evangelist in Weston

Posted : Jul-04-2024

On Sunday, June 30, 2024 the Most Reverend Francis Leo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Toronto visited St. John the Evangelist Church in Weston. After celebrating the 11 a.m. Mass, His Grace processed to the Cemetery located behind the Church property to bless and re-dedicate the grounds that are the burial place for parishioners of the parish, dating back to the mid-1850’s in some cases. Archbishop Leo Blesses Restored Cemetery at St. John the Evangelist in Weston

This occasion marked the end of a 10-year project that began in 2014 when the Fr. Andrew Maderak, pastor of the parish, was made aware of the location of the former cemetery. It was thought that remains were still present in this area so Fr. Maderak, with assistance from the archdiocese, made arrangements for an archaeological company to examine the site. The dig took place throughout October and November of 2014 and resulted in the discovery of 147 intact graves consisting of 99 adults and 48 infants/children in addition to a number of scattered remains from a small number of disturbed graves.

In the years following the discovery, the parish worked diligently to overcome several roadblocks on their way to restoring dignity to the parishioners buried there. In the past year, the project was able to be completed – monuments that were found were restored, grass laid down and a statue of the Blessed Mother was added to watch over the cemetery. On November 18, 2023, a funeral Mass was held for the scattered remains that were found in the cemetery. 

The final step in restoring the cemetery was this blessing and re-dedication that occurred after the Mass on June 30. Many parishioners were in attendance along with a number of invited guests including the contractors and archaeologist who were instrumental in the restoration project.  Additionally, members of the Golding family - direct descendants of Michael Golding who, along with his family members, are buried in the cemetery - were also in attendance. A reception followed, celebrating not only the completion of the cemetery project, but also Archbishop Leo’s birthday, which happened to fall on the same day.  

It was a wonderful and fitting closure to the long-running cemetery project, but most importantly, the dignity that is due to every son and daughter of God was restored to the dearly departed parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Parish who are buried in the cemetery. May they rest in peace.