‘Not in accord with Church practice’

Holy Cross Cemetery

From the website of the Fresno diocese:

Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, on Belmont Avenue just West of Highway 99 in Fresno, has introduced a new option for the placement of cremated remains — Saint Therese Alcove — to provide families with limited funds a final resting place at an affordable price. Families facing financial hardships sometimes retain their loved one’s urn at home which is not in accord with Church practice. The cremated remains should be reverently resting in a Catholic cemetery.

This new cremation alcove is located in the existing Saint Therese Crypt Building. A new six-foot granite statue of our patron Saint Therese was placed inside to graciously watch over the vessels containing the mortal remains of our departed brothers and sisters. Deacon Salvador De La Torre from Saint John’s Cathedral, Fresno, conducted both the blessing of the alcove and the first committal service for the two urns placed on May 31, 2012.

Director of Cemeteries, Mr. Carlos Rascon stated, “They will now have eternal rest in a sanctified place within this cemetery forever.”

If you know someone who has been keeping the cremated remains at home or have limited funds and have delayed taking an urn to the cemetery, please have them contact Saint Peter’s Catholic Cemetery at 559-488-7449 so we can discuss the options available to our Catholic families.



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  1. Kenneth M. Fisher says:

    Just exactly what is considered low cost?

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher

  2. Why do they protect the dead so much more than they protect the unborn babies?

    • Good grief. Respecting the whole of life, including the body which in life housed the Holy Spirit is more than consistent with speaking up for the unborn. This is about respecting humanity, which includes human remains and the unborn. I find your comment therefore impertient and in bad taste.

  3. ““They will now have eternal rest in a sanctified place within this cemetery forever.””: I didn’t know that cemeteries were eternal.

  4. Cemetery plots are very expensive. Embalming, caskets, and other related services provided by mortuaries are beyond what many families can pay. We are planning the funeral for someone in our family. When we began getting prices on the various products and services for the funeral, I was shocked. For low-income families, even cremation is costly. God bless the people at Holy Cross Cemetery for caring enough for people to create a dignified resting place for the cremains. I hope other cemeteries across the country will follow their good example.

  5. If you know someone who has paid for or is still paying for full funeral costs then this would be a blessing. Funeral costs are devastating and stressful. This possibility should be expanded.

  6. I think the proper term for what the article is calling an alcove, is a Columbarium, at least where I am from.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      I checked my College Dictionary and there was no word “cremains”. The Word Warriors at work again!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • Kenneth, you need a better dictionary.

        cre·mains (krî-mânz¹) plural noun
        The ashes that remain after cremation of a corpse.
        [Blend of CREMATED and REMAINS.]
        The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition is licensed from Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

  7. With the high cost of dying (a funeral Mass here in Worcester County is now $300, thanks to the Bishop), how many people can even afford to bury their loved ones properly? I hope that this idea will catch on through-out the country. +JMJ+

    • This many years after the Reformation and we still charge for the sacraments. They should be free! How much do we charge for someone to be baptized. Did the Great Comission, Matthew 28, 16 said Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. He didn’t add – and charge them $300. And, you can’t convince me that it is all for janitors and electricity. It is to make money. We charge for funerals, we charge for confirmation, we charge for first communion. We charge people to receive the sacraments when they should be given freely. That is the purpose (at least one) of our church. We, again, can’t distinguish between religion and faith.

  8. This opportunity is not available here in Indiana. That’s a shame. My parents’ cremains are in a grave at the Mission San Luis Rey which was purchased in 1990. Since then, the price has risen to $3,200. Offering families this discount is certainly a work of mercy.

  9. Oops. Forgot to mention that the grave for two cremains at San Luis Rey was originally $800. The price has quadrupled.

  10. Every Catholic cemetery in the United States should provide a section of small lots for cremation remains. I would refuse to buy above ground crypts and simply get the remains to the cemetery and bury them myself over a relative. The damages to above the ground burial just in recent years has suffered theft of metals and destruction which is outrageous of course.
    Bodies dead many many years are even being scattered around mausoleums by vandals or robbers.

  11. What a great idea. Talk about thinking “Pastorally.” Whoever thought of this should take a bow.

  12. Laurette Elsberry says:

    Unfortunately, Catholic cemetery burials are way too costly for some families, forcing them to resort to cremation. Watch for the costs of cremation remains disposition to go up to compensate for the fewer burials.

  13. Abeca Christian says:

    well it’s too late…there is a business man who takes the cremated remains and makes out of them black diamonds, that is what he calls them. He is very expensive….one of his customers sued him because she said that she had her medium tell her that the ashes in the “black Diamond” where someone else s ashes.

    Well it’s too late there were Catholics who decided to throw the ashes out in the ocean.

    Well it’s too late, a woman decided to share her parents ashes with all her siblings, they separated the ashes and placed them in gold lockets, they made necklaces. It was quite an expensive project.

    The abuses keep going on, the pagan practices are quite up there!

  14. granted..the cost of burial or cremation can be expensive..but…a lot of people have their priorities in the wrong place…these same individuals have a beautiful home,luxury car, expensive taste etc. YET they complain about the burial cost for someone who probably sacrificed there whole life so they could improve their lives….

    • Abeca Christian says:

      way to go walt! I agree, it’s all about priorities! I recall some friends, when their mum passed, they couldn’t afford her funeral but strangely after, they afforded a lawyer to get the house and all other material goods, they also drive nice new cars. How did they afford a trip to Europe? Go figure.

  15. rosaryfixer says:

    Indeed, the cost of funerals and burial in a Catholic cemetery are astronomical not only to poor families but those of us on a fixed income and retired. A recent funeral here cost $18,000 and the deceased had ordered her wooden casket from the Trappists and kept it in her home until the day when it was needed. I understand a Catholic can be buried in a non-Catholic cemetery and have the grave site blessed. I would never have considered cremation but after learning about costs, I’m reconsidering. Also discovered that many funeral homes will post all their costs on their own website, so one can plan accordingly. Shop around…even costs of burial plots vary within a cemetery.

  16. The Catholic church has always banned cremation of the dead as it is a pegan practic. How did it become so common place in Catholic funerals

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      To answer your question, the post Vatican II Bureacracy decided that the reasons for the bans on cremation no longer existed, that is the persons having the body cremated did believe in the Resurrection and were not doing it for athiest reasons, it was ok.

      I have been to funerals at which there was on an Urn with the ashes of the deceased, and I find it much harder to have closure under those conditions. Soon it may be just as expensive as below ground burials!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

    • So, what about faithful Catholics who die in infernos with nothing left of their remains?

      • Abeca Christian says:

        JLS that is different, but a cremation was done out of choice.

        JFK i understand your sentiments on this, on the last time when they had an article on cremation here, I was attacked for not agreeing with the practice…boy it sure got crazy, read my post from above, I have reasons as to why I personally do not approve of cremations, I think that the church added my distaste for it because it too has seem to be silenced about the pagan practices on it because there are many Catholics who do not cremate properly and get it approved through the church first, many have embraced the pagan practices like throwing the ashes in the Ocean, making black diamonds out of them, etc etc….the abuse is getting huge, people have them on top of their fireplaces….all not approved or accepted under the CCC guide lines but I haven’t heard or seen any priest educate the faithful on the proper ways!

  17. The Church owns cemeteries and the cemeteries have to be kept up for the forseeable future. Therefore Catholics who are cremated are also guilted into buying cemetery plots which few relatives visit because of distance and which, give or take a few hundred years or so, will be plowed under for other use. I think of at least three cemeteries once within my own city, San Francisco, which were “removed” for other purposes. It is easy to “guilt” me but I resent being “guilted.” I would far rather that the costs of burying me be used to protect my grandchildren from the peonage of college debt.

  18. The custom probably has to do with the views on private property and also on the general resurrection. Bodies vaporized do not weigh in on these two concepts. There is also the income aspect, but I have not yet been able to comprehend the necessity of burying the faithful only among the faithful and not among the heathen. God created creation out of nothing and can renew whatever needs renewing and in whatever way after a person’s death. Yet Catholic cemeteries are symbolic, and burying scurrilous persons whose lives rebuked God and His Church in them muddies up the whole testimony of those who died faithful. Adultery is one of the chief institutions which leads a community or empire into the depths of sodomy. Planting the anti-Christs such as Ted Kennedy in a Catholic grave yard adulterates the testimony of the Church.

  19. If they had respect for the remains they wouldn’t cremate. Fresno is very inventive in their idea of “Catholic”. They just want the money. If they really cared they would be more concerned with how they live than where their remains are placed. How many of these people even lived a Catholic life?

  20. JLS, I agree with some of the things you have said, especially in reguards to Ted Kennedy or any of the Kennedy’s for that matter. God will be their final judge so it does not matter how pompus their funeral was or how they were burried. If we carried of with the pegan practice of burning our dead we would never know about the inccorupt bodies of the saints. St Joan of Arc was burned at the stake but God preserved her heart which is incorrupt to this day. The Romans did not believe in the afterlife so they burned each other up. I guess we should not be too supprised that since VII the practices of catholics have regressed to this type of thinking.

    • Actually, JFK, the Romans did believe in an afterlife. It was beyond the Styx River under the earth and was a dismal place.

      • The pagan Romans also believed that some were reincarnated after spending some time in Hades (which was under the earth across the Styx.).

  21. I’m glad to read that this particular diocese took steps to make the cemetery more affordable.

    The Roman Catholic Church is clear about how the cremated remains should be treated: “The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium [a cemetery vault designed for urns containing ashes of the dead]. 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.” The instructions also state that, if at all possible, the place of entombment should be marked with a plaque or stone memorializing the deceased.

  22. This is a good thing. God bless those instrumental in making this happen.

  23. Burial may well be man’s natural instinct. Anthropologists have found graves of Neanderthals dated to many thousands of years back. If it were not instinctive, then why would early man have begun to bury their dead with symbols of afterlife and/or new life such as tools, weapons, stringed flowers, or artifacts indicating social rank? Burial is a statement of hope by man to God. Burial is also a statement by God to man set into the nature of man that God cares and that there is more to man and God than life on earth. Man has been crawling back from the Fall for a long time, and is always having to deal with those who prefer to defy God and project despair rather than hope. I prefer burial. I’ve even “planted” one dog, four stillborn puppies, and one older puppy in the yard. Why?, I wonder. Is it a false sentiment to want to reattach what has come from the earth back to the earth? Why? Do we find God in the sky or in the earth? or both? Cremation vaporizes the remains which rise into the sky, some of which then rain back down onto the earth. This process rather separates the elements. From dust to dust and ashes to ashes: Even the heat from the burning remains cools and becomes reabsorbed into the earth, sky and water; it does not leave for Heaven. So, it seems a whole lot simpler and focused to bury the body in a grave in the earth when possible.

    • Abeca and JLS, my mother wanted to be cremated and buried in the ground, and she was not Catholic. My brothers were in charge of her life insurance money, so they cremated her; buried her in the ground near trees, which she loved, in a cemetery where a lot of our family members are located and had a small service for her at the grave site, but they left the ugly, temporary concrete flat stone on her grave. I replaced it myself with a beautiful marble one with two places for flowers about ten years ago. It cost me $500 for the flat stone alone in California, but I had the money at the time and was willing to pay for it.

      • When cremains are buried in the ground, they are put in a burial box, then laid in a cement or metal square to protect then, just as a coffin is protected. The burial site is much smaller than one for a coffin and less expensive, so that is an option for some people, and certainly more like the “ashes to ashes and dust to dust” type of burial that JLS mentioned. I do not know if Catholic cemeteries provide for this yet, but many other cemeteries do. The ground can always be blessed by a Catholic priest if a Non-catholic cemetery is used, and this method is very respectful of the loved ones remains.

  24. A correction, the gravestone must have been made from polished granite not marble. They look similar to me. Also, it was probably more than ten years ago that I replaced it and the cost over $500 but below $600. I just wanted you to get an idea as to how much something such as this could cost today.

  25. The cemetery provided a gratis burial and had a Priest do the blessing ceremony for us. It would have cost $ 500.00 for the entire thing but they understood our constraints and provided a wonderful service to our family.
    Thank you.

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