372 new graves inaugurated at the Santa Marija Cemetery, Gozo
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The Minister for Gozo Dr Anton Refalo has officially inaugurated 372 new graves, which are in the extension of the Santa Marija Cemetery in Xewkija. Other graves for Government use have also been refurbished in the cemetery.
The Santa Marija Cemetery is the only one that is used by the State in Gozo. At present in the cemetery including the new extended part, there are about 1152 graves, of which 10% are the common graves that belong to the Government, to be used for those who have not purchased a private tomb. Over the years this cemetery has increased in size several times where new graves were built for the needs of the time, it was last enlarged in 1992.
Work started in December 2013 on the excavation of rock and dredging in the zone being used for the extension. At the beginning of 2014 started work on the construction of 372 new graves, which were completed in October 2015.
Minister Refalo reiterated the importance of this project, which was funded by the sale of the same graves.
Other refurbishment work carried out at the cemetery included among others, repairing pathways and pavements throughout the existing cemetery, restoration and maintenance on the facade of the chapel, re-painting and restoration of doors and windows, maintenance and restoration of the walls surrounding the cemetery, the installation of a new water supply, any structural alterations required in order to provide facilities and adequate means visitors at the cemetery, and be accessible to persons with disabilities and a lack of mobility. New offices, warehouses and changing rooms for staff and sanitary facilities for the public visiting the cemetery.
The Minister thanked all those who made the project possible. The ceremony included a Mass led by Bishop Mario Grech who also blessed the new graves.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri