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Green Burial at Mt. Calvary

St. Francis Section

St. Francis is the green burial section at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery with 120 grave spaces. Green burial is an environmentally sensitive burial option that allows for the natural decomposition of the body that requires the use of sustainable, natural products for caskets such as wood, bamboo, and sea grass. The practice eliminates or drastically reduces the use of non-natural products such as chemically based embalming fluids, steel, copper, bronze and concrete typically used in traditional in-ground burials.

Rather than maintaining a traditional setting with grass, paths and roads, the area will be re-forested as interments are made. Ultimately, the section will become a forested area that is maintained only by removal of non-native plant species. There will also be a maintained entry path that will be removed as interments are made. The St. Francis area will not offer traditional visitation to each grave but will instead offer an area for memorialization, reflection and prayer that overlooks the forest.

Catholic funeral rites and green burial: While some might think that green burial practices are at odds with the teachings and traditional values of the Catholic Church, the practice of green burial can be completely consistent with Catholic beliefs. Embalming practices do tend to facilitate Catholic funeral practices but Catholics are able to participate in all of the traditional funeral rites without embalming provided there is careful planning by the family and cooperation from the local funeral director.

Cremation and green burial: Green burial practitioners do not consider cremation an environmentally sound practice due to fossil fuel usage and the green house gasses given off in the process. Initially, our new green burial area will not include areas for cremation interment.

Memorialization

Memorialization on individual graves is optional and will be limited to natural stone markers with sandblasted inscriptions. Since the graves are not designed for direct visitation, the names of everyone interred in the section will be placed on a large community marker near the entrance to the section and the cost is included in the price of the grave.

Pre-planning a burial in the green burial section

The green burial area at Mt. Calvary is planted with native plants as interments are made. Because of the plantings on each grave cannot be disturbed, grave location is determined at the time of death. This means that buying traditional side by side graves for family members is not an option. Prepayment for your service fees, memorial and a non-designated grave can be made through our guaranteed trust program. Your pre-funded trust is guaranteed and fully refundable, so there is essentially no risk to those that choose to pre-fund a green burial interment.

The cost of green burial

The turf road entrance to the green burial area

Several factors affect the cost of green burial graves. Because there are no outer burial containers used, graves are larger than a traditional grave because of the need to avoid having loose soil from a recent grave spill into a newly prepared grave. Without an outer burial container the larger graves also ensure that remains are not disturbed. Graves in the green burial section are priced at $2,250 each but the price includes an inscription of a name and dates on the community marker located at the entrance of the section.

Interment and administrative fees are slightly higher at $1100 for green burial compared to $1000 for a traditional grave. The higher fees are due to access difficulties and the need to use natural shoring to prevent the graves from caving in during wet weather.

Optional natural headstones that can be placed on a grave currently cost $500 each. The cemetery keeps a stock of these rocks on hand and a unique stone can be selected at the time of the burial.

Package and pre-planning discounts are available.


Green burial Rules and Regulations

Generally

  1. Cemetery staff will not perform dis-interments from green burial graves.
  2. Families may, with the cemetery's approval, plant or donate plants from an approved list of native species on their loved ones grave.
  3. Fresh cut flowers may be placed in Green Burial sections. Glass, plastic, wire, pins and any non- naturally occurring materials are prohibited at all times.
  4. Superintendent or designee has the right to plant or remove plants within the green burial area regardless of whether the plants are on an approved plant list.
  5. Cemetery is not responsible for maintaining trails in green burial areas. The cemetery will allow the natural re-forestation process to occur unimpeded. Green burial areas are designated as "non-visitation" areas. Cemetery is not liable for injuries occurring to hikers and visitors.

Body Preparation

  1. No embalmed bodies are allowed within designated green burial sections. (Exceptions may be made for bodies embalmed with natural embalming fluid).
  2. No outer burial containers (concrete or plastic) are allowed in designated green burial graves.
  3. Bodies are to be dressed in natural materials (i.e. cotton and leather) to the extent practical.

Sales of Interment Rights

  1. Interment rights to non-designated graves within the Green Burial section may only be pre-purchased through the cemetery trust program. Pre-purchased graves will not be specifically designated due to the planting of graves as interments occur. Cemetery has the right to cancel the purchase of any non-designated grave. Customers are eligible for a full refund from their trust (plus interest or less losses) if green burial is discontinued due to changes in City, County, State, Federal laws or regulations or due to circumstances deemed beyond the cemeteries' control.

Placement of Cremated Remains

  1. Interment of cremated remains in the green burial sections are generally prohibited. Cremated remains may be allowed in unoccupied graves or in graves of family members at the Superintendent's discretion and only if no trees or large shrubs would be damaged or destroyed by the placement of the cremated remains.

Burial Containers, Caskets and Shrouds

  1. No outer burial containers (concrete or plastic) are allowed in designated green burial graves.
  2. Burial containers, caskets, and casket alternatives must be made of naturally occurring material including but not limited to, wood, sea grass or wicker.
  3. All natural burial containers or caskets must be rigid or semi rigid and have at least four handles of adequate strength to support the weight of a body and the lowering of the body into the grave. Alternately, shrouds may be used only if supported by a board (minimum 5' x 2') under the shroud and attached to the shroud with four to six handles to accommodate carrying the body and lowering of the body into the grave.
Grave memorials
  1. Grave memorials are optional. Natural stones that have been inscribed with a name and dates separated by a simple Latin cross may be placed on the grave. Stones are to be made of quartzite or similarly hard material and be between 3" and 5" thick. Stones must be between 12-30 inches wide (left to right) and between 12-18 inches high (top to bottom). Stones must be flat on top to accommodate flush placement with the ground.
  2. Cemetery is not responsible for damaged, lost or stolen markers in this section or for any type of memorial maintenance.
  3. All interments in green burial areas must be marked on the cenotaph located at the entrance to the section.

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