A place of remembrance

 on December 1, 2023

As Diocesan Cemetery Manager for the Diocese of BC, my duties include oversight of our 19 historic and active cemeteries, as well as eight memorial gardens. I assist the cemetery committees with administration and act as a liaison between the synod office and individual parishes. I also administrate cemetery sites that are not attached to a parish.

In this role, I have been blessed to visit many parishes and diocesan sites, meeting wonderful members of the diocese. I also am honoured to represent the diocese to the public regarding its cemeteries.

On Oct.28 of this year, I had the pleasure of welcoming several Sea Cadets at St. Mary, Somenos Cemetery, located in the Cowichan Valley.


St. Mary’s Cemetery is located at 6309 Somenos Road, North Cowichan, on land donated by the Drinkwater family in 1874. Soon after, an Anglican church was constructed and consecrated there, and a cemetery established. In 1909, the church building was torn down and a new one built. The second church stood on the site until 1970 when it was deconsecrated, and the Anglican Church donated the building to the town of Port Renfrew. The building was moved and serves as a community hall to this day.

For many years, the cadets have come to lay crosses at St. Mary’s Cemetery and in local cemeteries within the valley. This year, over 75 crosses were laid at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

After each one was laid, the Cadets saluted the veterans and spent a moment to reflect.

During this visit, I was given the opportunity to address the cadets.  After a welcome on behalf of the Diocese of BC, I thanked them for their dedication and time to pay tribute to the many veterans in our cemeteries. As well, I was happy to say that the diocese will continue to honour their memory by maintaining our cemeteries as a welcoming place for all.


  • Mark Oldnall

    Mark Oldnall is the Diocesan Cemetery Manager for the Diocese of BC. He is also a member of the parish council at St Peter, Quamichan.

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