What is a Columbarium?
A columbarium (dovecote) is taken from the Latin word “Columba” meaning “dove”. It is used to refer to a collection of niches designed to house urns containing cremated human remains: a place where the ashes of the departed may rest in peace and dignity within the shadow of the church.
Reviving a Honored Tradition
Early Christians in Rome and elsewhere established significant burial areas in the catacombs and later, within churches and in churchyard cemeteries. Since the prohibition against cremation has been lifted, the columbarium revives the tradition of bringing Christian remains back to the church and laying them to rest in a columbarium on church grounds.
Internment at Holy Family
All members of Holy Family are eligible to have their ashes interred in the Columbarium. Reservation rights to each niche, along with the urns to contain the cremains, are sold to the Purchaser, who specifies the names of the persons whose ashes may be placed within. Each niche will hold two cremains. If one person’s ashes are interred, that name will go on the granite facing, and the second name and date will be inscribed when the second person dies. A niche can also be used for a single internment.
For those not utilizing the second spot in the niche, they may wish to donate the second urn to charity or to benefit other members in the parish who are less fortunate. The details of costs and guidelines can be obtained from the members of the Columbarium Committee. Call the Parish Office at 481-5702 to contact a committee member.
The Columbarium at Holy Family provides for…
• a response to the growing practice of cremation.
• a renewal of the ancient and time-tested Church Burial Plots near the church itself.
• a burial place utilizing good stewardship for members.
• an opportunity to be “at home”; where the faithful have been “at home” in their lives.
• a quiet, spiritual place where relatives and friends may come for prayer and meditation.
• a means of connection with the congregation.
• continuity between the funeral liturgy and burial…..no procession of automobiles to a cemetery, only a short walk to the place of peace.
- The Church urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the body better expresses the values that the Church affirms through these rites (US Bishops’ decree, 1997, #413).
- The cremated remains of a 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 the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains at sea, from the air, or on the ground or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased is 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 (US Bishops’ Decree, 1997, #417).