Columbarium FAQ

Will these prices ever change?
Prices and may be raised at any time without notice. However, once you have purchased a niche, there will be no further charges, even if the price should rise in the future.

How are niches assigned?
Niches are selected and assigned on a first-come basis at the time of purchase with the down-payment. If you choose not to select a niche location, we will select one for you.  A contract for purchase of the ‘Right of Inurnment’ will be provided to witness the transaction.

What proof will I have that I purchased a niche?
A signed contract will witness the Right of Inurnment when you make payment for a specified niche in St. Joseph’s Cathedral Columbarium.

Can I add the cremated remains of a second person to my niche?
Yes . . . if you purchase a niche for double occupancy. However, the ashes will be in different caskets.

What happens if I purchase a niche in the Columbarium, then move away?
Prior to occupancy in the niche, you can either transfer interest to another family member, or we can arrange a refund of the purchase price, excluding the non-refundable deposit.  Once the niche is occupied however, there are no refunds.  However, upon written notice to St. Joseph’s Cathedral, you may relocate the urn with the cremated remains of your loved one, to another cemetery if the need arises.

May I decorate the area near my niche with flowers?
The Columbarium site is perpetually maintained in a manner designed to be beautiful, serene, holy and edifying, under the direction of the Columbarium Committee. Flowers may be placed at the time of inurnment and will be removed by the Columbarium Committee after 48 hours. Additional floral arrangements, flags, statues, or other decorations may not be placed on or near a niche or any other location in the Columbarium without the written approval of the Columbarium Committee and the written concurrence of the Parish Priest. Under no circumstances are flowers to block sight lines to any niches in the Columbarium.

Access to Columbarium
Access to the Columbarium is by appointment. 

Please contact Terry Purcell or the Parish Office.

Records Retention: 
A permanent record of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral Columbarium is maintained by the Parish Office of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. The records are continually updated to show current status. 

As a Catholic, may I be cremated?
Yes; however, given the sacred dignity of the body, the Church recommends that the custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed to await the Resurrection.  Cremation is now permitted, but it does not enjoy the same value as the burial of the body of the deceased.  In May, 1963, the Vatican’s Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith) lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation. This permission was incorporated into the ‘Revised Code of Canon Law (1983); as well as into the ‘Order of Christian Funerals’. It then became standard practice to celebrate the funeral liturgies with the body and then take the body to the crematorium. Most recently (circa 1997) the bishops of the United States and the Holy See have authorized the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with the cremated remains present even when the body is cremated before the funeral.

Must cremated remains be buried/ entombed?
Yes.  Respectful final disposition of cremated remains involves inurnment or entombment.  Burial options include a family grave in a cemetery marked with a traditional memorial stone or an urn; garden; a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns.  Another choice is to be inurned in a Columbarium.

Can I scatter the ashes?  May I keep the ashes on my mantle?
No. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or 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.  Burial of cremated remains at sea differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be dropped into the sea.

May anything be added to cremated remains, such as the cremated remains of other persons, pets, and other objects?
No. The principle of respect for the cremated remains of a deceased Christian embraces the deeper belief in the individuality of each baptized person before God. Throughout history, the mingling of remains has never been an accepted practice, except in extraordinary circumstances.

When should cremation take place?
The Church strongly prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body. The presence of the body most clearly brings to mind the life and death of the person, and better expresses the values that the Church affirms in its Rites.  However, in some circumstances it may not be possible to have the body present.  In those situations, a full funeral liturgy may be conducted with the cremated remains present.

Out of respect for loved ones, you will want to do all you can to carry out the wishes of the deceased concerning funeral services, provided they are in keeping with Church practice.  Yet, you must always keep in mind the therapeutic value to the family of celebrating the full funeral liturgy with the body present.  This may significantly outweigh your reasons for cremation before the funeral liturgy.

The Funeral Rites

What Funeral Rites are celebrated when a person is cremated?
All the usual rites which are celebrated with a body present may also be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains.

Please see the appendix: Funeral Guideline for further clarification.

Should I schedule a Funeral Mass before or after cremation?
The Church strongly prefers cremations to take place after the Funeral Mass. However, if it is not possible for the body to be present at the Funeral Mass, an indult has been granted by the Holy See which provides for the celebration of the Mass or Funeral liturgy with the cremated remains in church.

How much time elapses from the Funeral Mass until the remains are inurned in the Columbarium?
If the body is present at the Funeral Mass, the funeral director will advise you on the time necessary to cremate the body. Usually, it is a day or two. The inurnment then follows. If the cremated remains are present at the Funeral Mass, typically inurnment immediately follows the Mass. It is customary to take the remains of the dead immediately to the place of rest after the Funeral Mass for inurnment. The location of the Cathedral Columbarium permits immediate procession following the Funeral Mass to the Columbarium.

Is a ritual conducted when the remains are interred in the Columbarium?
Yes. The Rite of Committal is very similar to the service conducted at a graveside in a cemetery. It is the prayer service that concludes the Order of Christian Funerals, following the Mass/ Service of Christian Burial. It completes the journey that began at birth. If any parishioner or friend of the parish would like further information on the Columbarium, please contact the Parish Office. Space is limited and allocation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

May non-parishioners purchase a niche in St. Joseph’s Columbarium?
A limited number of niches are available for purchase by active and registered Catholics from other parishes, and may be purchased with the agreement of the Columbarium Committee, and the approval of the Parish Priest. There is an increased charge for purchasers who are non-parishioners.

The Purchaser may inter only family members, limited to the spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the purchaser. Family members do not have to be Catholic. The Pastor must approve any exceptions.

What proof will I have that I purchased a niche?
A contract will witness the ‘Right of Inurnment of Cremains’ purchased with the payment of the appropriate fee for a specified niche in the St. Joseph’s Columbarium.

A similar contract will be provided for purchase of Memorial Plaques.

I purchased a niche for myself.   If I later decide to add another person, can I do so?
Yes, assuming the second person meets the qualifications previously described.

May more than two people be interred in a niche?
No. There is insufficient space in a niche for more than two caskets.

How are niches assigned?
You may choose an available niche at the time of purchase, from any section in the Columbarium where niches have been installed and made available for inurnment by the Columbarium Committee. If you choose not to select a niche location, the Columbarium Committee will select it for you.