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Why have a burial at a Roman Catholic Cemetery?

Each person, created in the image and likeness of God, sets out on a faith journey. Our church, and in particular the local parish, is always present along the way to minister to the traveler’s needs and to celebrate significant milestones in their lives. 
We become a new creation through water and the Holy Spirit in Baptism becoming children of God. At the table of the Eucharist, we are nourished for our life’s journey. Through Confirmation we are filled with the Holy Spirit and grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord and in service to our fellow travelers. Along the journey there are vocational choices of marriage, priesthood, and religious life. Promises are made, celebrated and supported. In our illness we are prayed for, visited, and anointed. 
Just as conception and growth are a part of our pilgrimage, so is death. On life’s journey, the Church is present to support and nurture the members of the faith community – therefore, it is only fitting that the Church is present at the time of death and grief. 
Catholic Cemeteries are an extension of the parish where those who have worshiped and prayed together in life now await the resurrection of the body in death. 
Catholic Cemeteries are rooted in ancient religious traditions that display a respect for the deceased and a reverence for their physical remains. 
A core belief which dates back to the birth of Christianity is that there is a direct relationship between Jesus’ death and resurrection and the death and resurrection of the Christian. Catholics believe in life eternal. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die.” (Jn.11:25-26). Just as Christ rose from the dead, He will raise our mortal remains to be like His in glory. 
Catholic cemeteries are a constant reminder that death is just a part of the journey that leads to new life. Catholic cemeteries are sacred places that strive to create a religious environment conducive of prayer, reflection and remembrance. Our cemeteries encourage prayerful visitation through the use of statuary, landscaping, architecture and Christian symbolism throughout buildings and by memorialization. 
By choosing a Catholic Cemetery, one selects a final resting place that reflects the beliefs and values from life’s personal journey.  It is a resting place that is sacred and shared with all fellow pilgrims awaiting the resurrection of the dead and the promise of everlasting life.

Why choose a Catholic Cemetery?

In our complex and busy world, the desire to do things well spiritually, as well as sensibly, is often complicated by practical matters like time, money and information. Nothing seems quite as easy to do as it first appears. This is also true of planning for a burial place. We recommend that you do this now for the final stage of your journey, while your decision can be made spiritually and prudently.

What is the cemetery’s intended use?

The Catholic cemetery images the Communion of Saints. By peaceful rest among other believers in Jesus Christ, in silence our beloved deceased still proclaim their belief in the Resurrection and Christ’s promise of eternal life to those who follow Him. 
Those who request burial within a Catholic cemetery are making this Profession of Faith. The Mission Statement for Catholic Cemeteries should be consulted for a fuller amplification of the role of Catholic cemeteries within the life of the Church. 
The Catholic Cemeteries are therefore intended for the interment of Catholics and members of their families who have the right to Christian burial according to the rules of discipline of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church is called upon, however, to extend charity, compassion and understanding to the extended families of its membership. 
Any extra-ordinary question concerning the burial of a Catholic or non-Catholic member of an owner’s family may be referred first to the pastor of the owner’s family. Questions regarding any person not entitled to Christian burial according to the rules and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church within the confines of these cemeteries shall be referred to the Diocesan Cemetery Director who may involve the Office of the Chancellor of the Rockville Centre Diocese. Decisions made by the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre shall be final. 
The cemetery’s management is committed that Catholic Cemeteries are well maintained and image the Church’s respect for the dignity of each individual human person. 

Many families visit these sacred burial grounds for prayer and reflection. Specifically each visitor seeks their loved one’s burial place as an expression of their love and devotion.The cemetery grounds, in particular the lawn areas, appear to the public as a park like environment, yet these areas retain a sacred nature and characteristic that sets these grounds apart from the local city, state, and national parks. 

Activities such as the walking of pets, jogging, riding of bikes, roller blades and roller skates, the washing and cleaning or private vehicles, fishing, feeding of wildlife, and picnicking and other park like activity is inappropriate on cemetery grounds.  An exercise such as walking through the grounds is usually acceptable, provided that walkers are dressed appropriately and do not infringe upon visitors, mourners, or cemetery workers.  Although there is generally light traffic, please adhere to the common sense rule of walking to the side of the road and against the flow of traffic movement.  Please be alert to maintenance equipment entering or exiting interment sections. 
The cemetery has maintained as a specific rule a regulation that states, “The walking of dogs or the bringing of animals into the cemetery is strictly forbidden.”  The one exception to this rule is the use of animals in assistance of those who are visually impaired.  

As the custodians of God’s acre, we must continue to balance recreational desires with more practical concerns of appearance and upkeep.  While not everyone will agree with all the rules, we ask that everyone accept them as contributing to our common goal – a well-kept cemetery.  Thank-you for helping us in our continuous effort to make our cemeteries a more beautiful place to visit and easier to maintain.

How many burials can be placed in one grave?

With the exception of lawn crypts, ordinarily three caskets or just two caskets in concrete vaults may be placed in any one grave. Under limited circumstances, up to three cremation urns may be placed in the grave (subject to available inscription space on the monument). Additional fees may apply.

How does the Catholic Church care for the poor at the time of death?

The poor, the indigent, those who find themselves in financial distress due to catastrophic events or circumstances, are to be afforded the same dignity and care as those who are able to fully pay for the goods and services offered by our Catholic cemeteries. 
The Mission Statement for Catholic Cemeteries amplifies this commitment. Structures are in place within the Rules and Regulations to enable Pastors and Pastoral Administrators to work closely with the Catholic Cemeteries to insure that the requirements of these families and individuals are met.

What is a disinterment or removal?

According to the rituals and common practice of the Roman Catholic Church, burial, entombment or inurnment is considered a final act that allows the body of the deceased to “rest in peace” while awaiting resurrection. 
Disinterment or removal of the dead from their graves, crypts or niches should only be done for the most serious of reasons. Cemetery personnel will exercise great care and respect in conducting such removals. A full treatment of the restrictions and required protocols is contained within the Rules and Regulations for Catholic Cemeteries.

What are the products and services found at Catholic Cemeteries?

Catholic Cemeteries have continued to modernize the Cemeteries since their inception. As changes in burial customs took place so did the development of the Cemeteries. The fruits of careful planning and wise building are evident in the Catholic Cemeteries of the Rockville Centre Diocese.  These facilities are integral to the life and mission of the Catholic Church and significantly contribute to the ministries of comfort, catechesis, and evangelization as delineated in the Mission Statement for Catholic Cemeteries. 
Catholic cemeteries recognize three entities involved in the area of funeral service, the parish, the cemetery and the funeral home.  Catholic Cemeteries are committed to offering only those products and services that are indigenous to the cemetery itself. 
Catholic Cemeteries offer a full range of services and products, including but not limited to: 
Single and Double grave spaces with Flush Memorials 
Single and Double grave spaces with Upright Memorials 
Larger grave spaces with Family Estate Memorials 
Lawn Crypt Selections 
Chapel and Garden Mausolea 
Private Family Mausolea 
Columbarium Niches for the Inurnment of Cremated Remains 
Opening/Closing of Graves, Crypts, Niches 
Memorial Foundations 
Installation of Bronze Markers 
Religious & Military Crypt and Niche Front Emblems 
Urns and Floral vase holders 
Monument Cleaning Services 
Seasonal placement of selective decorations (eg. – grave blankets) 
Votive Light Candle memorials at our chapel mausoleums 
Personal visual computerized memorials at cemetery Kiosk stations. 
The purchase of these products and services through Catholic Cemeteries supports the ministry and mission of Catholic Cemeteries and the Diocese of Rockville Centre. 
Because of the variety and complexities involved in the selection of appropriate goods and services, Catholic Cemeteries retains the services of carefully trained and competent personnel to explain the implications of the various alternatives. 
Family Service Counselors are the individuals who assist in their immediate need environment.  Pre-Need Counselors, by appointment at one of the cemetery offices, are available for consultation about future cemetery arrangements. 
A complete staff of Operations & Maintenance personnel are employed by Catholic Cemeteries to prepare graves, crypts and niches for burial services, to maintain the grounds and buildings of the Catholic Cemeteries, to do the installations of certain memorials and various plantings and to offer a variety of other services that care for the interment spaces in the cemeteries and those who either have custody of them or come to visit and pray at the cemeteries. This work is performed at reasonable and competitive prices, and owners of Burial Rights are invited to obtain an estimate on any work they may require.

Who owns the lot? 

The possession of a Certificate of Interment Rights (sometimes referred to as Deed) by anyone other than the original purchaser does not guarantee ownership of or the right to use grave/crypt/niche. Upon the death of the purchaser, the ownership of the lot is governed by Section 8 of the Religious Corporations Law:“Lots in such cemeteries shall be held indivisible, and upon the decease of a proprietor of such lot the title thereto shall descend to his heirs-at-law or devisees, subject, however, to the following limitations and conditions: If he leaves a widow and children, they shall have in common the possession, care and control of such lot during her life. If he leaves a widow and no children, she shall have the possession, care, and control of such lot during her life. If he leaves children and no widow, they or the survivor of them, shall in common have the possession, care and control of such lot during the life of the survivor of them. The parties having such possession, care and control of such lot during the term thereof may erect a monument and make other permanent improvements thereon. The widow shall have the right of interment, for her own body in such lot, or in a tomb in such lot and a right to have her body remain permanently interred or entombed therein, except that her body may be removed there from to some other family lot or tomb with the consent of her heirs. At any time when more than one person is entitled to the possession, care or control of such lot, the persons so entitled thereto shall designate in writing to the religious corporation which of their number shall represent the lot, and on their failure to designate, the board of trustees or directors of the corporation shall enter of record which of said parties shall represent the lot, while such failure continues. The widow may at any time release her right in such lot, but no conveyance or devise by any other person shall deprive her of such right.”

An affidavit may be used to authorize burials or designate burial space by the owner or the survivors (the family representatives).  Please reach out to a cemetery representative for the proper affidavit form should you wish to place a burial designation on file.

Who is entitled to a Veteran’s Marker? 

The cemetery permits only one memorial on a lot. If the family opts to use a veterans memorial that meets the cemetery’s regulations for a particular burial location we suggest you contact the cemetery office to complete our required authorizations and necessary paperwork. The VA provides markers at no charge, yet there are cemetery fees for foundation work and marker installation. Please call the Cemetery Office for more information and current installation charges.                                        

I lost my certificate, can I get another one?

The cemetery does issue duplicate copies of Certificates of Interment Rights. Only one certificate can exist or be recognized. The cemetery can provide an Application for a Duplicate Certificate of Burial. Please call the cemetery office for eligibility rules and fees.