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Resident complaints due to Fall River cemetery closing leads to action by Council President

Photo courtesy of Joanne Szala

The complaints by several residents to Fall River Reporter concerning closure of City cemeteries on Easter has led to action by the Fall River City Council President.

While hours are marked at the cemeteries, several residents were upset over the gate closures on the holiday while they were inside visiting loved ones or when they were attempting to visit the cemetery.

One of the complaints we received was from Joanne Szala.

“Thousands of dollars to buy a double plot, plus the cost of burial and you go there to pay respects to your loved ones on EASTER SUNDAY the holiest day in the CATHOLIC religion and the CATHOLIC Cemetery, Notre Dame in Fall River is closed at 3 o’clock in the afternoon! Not only that, the gates are locked with visitors still inside. This is an outrage!!!!!!!!!!”

The strong response we received has led City Council President Cliff Ponte Jr. to issue a letter to Bishop Edgar da Cunha about the issue to try and resolve it.

“I write to add my voice to those who have been affected by the early closing of Notre Dame Cemetery on Easter Sunday. At a time when the people of this country are trying to reconnect with loved ones separated by the pandemic, being able to pray with and pay respects to departed loved ones on the holiest day in the Christian calendar becomes extremely important. To prevent, or curtail, the same is virtually a sacrilege.”

“I am requesting that you consider extending the closing time of Notre Dame cemetery, especially on holidays. I would be willing to meet with appropriate diocesan officials to ensure that this never happens again and to discuss ways to alleviate the pain and hurt people are feeling as a result of this insensitive behavior.”

We will keep you updated on any new changes to the policy.



  1. carol oliveira

    April 5, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Hats off to Cliff Ponte for doing this. I always said that he should be the one who runs for mayor of Fall River. He gets things done.

    • Elizabeth

      April 7, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      I agree with you Carol
      Cliff will make sure that the early closer will be fixed and hold the person in charge responsible

  2. Mortis Maximus

    April 10, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Cliff Ponte is nothing but a political opportunist. He will do nothing too change the power structure of Fall River politics, in fact he will just be joining it. Jasiel Correia thought he could play his own game and look where that got him.

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