Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
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Q: May Non-Catholics be Buried in Calvary Cemetery?
A: Yes, Since Vatican II, Canon Law has stated that all human beings are children of God and deserve a respectful burial united with the community in memorialization. This evolution of thought seeks to be inclusive of all people in the ultimate practice of God’s Word directing us to love one another as ourselves.
Q: May Non-Catholic family members be buried in Calvary Cemetery?
A: Of course! Family members who are not Catholic, including spouses, children, parents, may be buried in our cemetery in order to maintain family unity even in death.
Q: May former Catholics and non-practicing Catholics be buried in Calvary Cemetery?
A: Reconciliation is the hope of the Church even in death. A former, inactive or non-practicing Catholic may be buried in Calvary cemetery.
Q: Is cremation an option that is approved of by the Catholic Church?
A: Yes! See Cremation and the Catholic Church for more details. Calvary offers an increasing number of options for those who choose cremation.There are many questions and misconceptions about the Catholic Church’s policy on cremation. Many Catholics mistakenly believe that the Catholic Church still frowns upon cremation. Since the early 1960’s, the Catholic Church has allowed and has been evolving its position on cremation. In 1983, guidelines for cremation were included in the Code of Canon Law. In 1989, a task force was formed to examine the growing practice of cremation and sought ways to preserve traditional burial rites while accommodating the new policy. Finally in 1997, the Holy See granted permission to American bishops to allow funeral masses in the presence of cremated remains.
The Church prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for funeral rites, recommending the cremation take place following the funeral liturgy if at all possible. The bishops emphasize the respect due to the body as a temple of the spirit. The cremains are to be kept intact in a proper vessel and reverently buried or inurned in a lot, columbarium or niche of a dedicated mausoleum. There are many ways to be inurned in Calvary Cemetery.
Q: How many burials have been made at Calvary since it’s establishment in 1872?
A: To date, just over 75,000. This figure includes over 4,000 burials that were transferred here from St. Henry Cemetery of Dayton after it’s closure in the late 1800s. Over the last decade Calvary has averaged approximately 675 burials annually.
Q: Does Calvary still allow upright monuments?
A: Yes, we offer a variety of memorial options which still include traditional upright Monuments.
Q: Is there a law or ordinance that says a burial vault or other outer container must be used?
A: Not in Ohio, however in most cases you will find this is a requirement of the individual cemeteries to support the ground due to equipment traffic such as tractors, trucks, mowers, etc. A concrete or steel vault to contain a casket is a requirement at Calvary Cemetery. Calvary does offer selection of burial vaults.
Frequently Asked Questions About Natural Burial
People sometimes have misconceptions about what the green burial practice is and whether there are issues with it. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
Will Calvary Cemetery continue to do traditional burials? Yes, of course! Natural burial is simply another option we are offering to a distinct interest group.
Is natural burial cheaper? Choosing natural burial may be less expensive because the biodegradable caskets, shrouds and urns are less costly than most of their traditional counter parts. If there is no embalming, that cost may also be saved. There are no cement burial vaults used, so that is an expense you will not have. Consult with the Calvary Cemetery staff about the costs for lots, site preparation and interment charges, and memorialization options to determine the final costs you will have. The primary reason for choosing a natural burial is the desire to be eco-conscious.
Will graves be disturbed by animals? Will there be any unpleasant smells? When a person is interred in the St. Kateri Preserve, their body is buried at least six feet under the surface of the earth. This is deep enough that there are no smells or scents coming from the site. The animals in the preserve will not disturb the gravesite except perhaps to eat the flowers left there; as they do all around the cemetery grounds.
Is there a danger of grave robbers? Calvary Cemetery is a gated, secure facility with limited access to the public. Our grounds crew and caretaker are present for twenty four hour coverage of the area. Because all materials in a natural burial must be biodegradable, there will be no jewelry or other valuables in the gravesite to attract any negative attention.
Will the bodies be able to be exhumed? Once buried, bodies will not be exhumed for any purpose from this area.
Will the ground sink or become unstable? Over time there will some sinking of the earth at any grave. Calvary always back fills with high quality top soil to ensure safe and stable ground. A mixture of grasses selected especially for this land conservation space will provide an erosion resistant ground cover. The native plants you choose for your site will also help with this. Burial sites are organized around the pathways to allow foot traffic around the Preserve. No lawn mowers or heavy equipment will be used on the burial sites, keeping the ground level consistent.
Will the water table/ aquifer be negatively impacted? No, absolutely not. Requirements in this area include that only earth friendly solutions and procedures are used in preparation for burial. Nothing unnatural goes in to the ground, so there is no fear of pollution of water. In addition, Calvary is the ideal spot for a cemetery because it sits on a porous, about twenty foot thick, limestone base which filters all the water coming through the ground into the aquifer.