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What is the Catholic Church's stance on cremation?

The Catholic Church for the longest time did not allow cremation as it was considered contrary to the belief of the resurrection of the body. Centuries later, this no longer the case as in 1963, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith lifted the prohibition of cremation and allowed Catholics to choose it as an option. This change was implemented into the Code of Canon Law of 1983 (Canon No. 1176) which states “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.” This change was also implemented into the Order of Christian Funerals.

In 1997, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a book Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Funeral Rites in order to provide more clarification on the use of cremation within the practice of the faith. It states “The cremated remains of the body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.” (Reflections, paragraph 417)


The Vatican even clarified in 2016 that the cremains of a deceased person should be buried reverently, “The ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority.” Ad resurgendum cum Christo (Instruction on the Care of the Dead.

What is a columbarium?


A Columbarium is a group of niches, typically within a wall of brick, stone, granite, marble or other materials, that contains the cremated remains of the departed in a “worthy vessel”.


Where is the columbarium located on campus?

Near the large oak tree on the north side of the church near the Gentle Hands fountain.

What sizes are the niches?

Two sizes will be offered 8x8 and 12x12.

What are the prices of the niches?

8 x 8 niche $5800

12 x 12 niche $8500

What is included with purchase?

Engraving; the perpetual care of the ; Opening and closing at the time of need.

How does the Columbarium impact the Master Plan?

Minimally, if at all.  The Columbarium seeks to fill an immediate need in a space that has been underutilized on campus and in a location that does not impact the current master plan. The construction of the Columbarium itself will be funded by the sale of niches. No funds earmarked for the next phases of the master plan will be used for the Columbarium.

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"At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of Baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist." 

Order of Christian Funerals, no. 4

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