St. Francis Green Burial

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 has historically been completely consistent with the Catholic faith and its tradition of burying the dead. Although embalming facilitates modern day funeral practices, it is easy to faithfully follow the Catholic Funeral Rite when choosing green burial, provided there is careful planning by the family and willingness and cooperation from the local funeral home.

The Entombment of Christ, Carl H. Bloch

St. Francis Green Burial at Mt. Calvary


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




















Rather than maintaining a traditional setting with carefully maintained grass and paved roads, the St. Francis green burial section area will be re-forested as interments are made. Ultimately, this section will become a forested area that is maintained only by the removal of non-native plant species.


The gravel pathway, located after the turf block, upon entering the St. Francis section will be removed to make room for interments as space fills up in the rest of the section. This section will not offer traditional memorialization at each grave but will instead offer an area of quiet reflection and prayer, in communion with nature, in a forest and mountain setting.


A common misconception with green burial is that graves may be repurposed in the future. Our St. Francis green burial section graves will never be re-cycled or re-used in keeping with the church teaching that the body is sacred and requires respectful treatment.


Cremation and Green Burial:  Green burial practitioners do not consider cremation an environmentally sound practice due to the fossil fuel usage and the green house gasses given off in the process. The St. Francis green burial section does not include separate areas for cremation interments.


St. Francis Green Burial Fees:

  • Right of Interment in a Non-Designated Grave (includes name & date inscription on community marker at entry)- $2,800

  • Interment Fee Green Burial Grave - $700

  • Administrative Fee (standard fee for all/any interments) - $450

  • Natural Stone Marker (optional) - $500

  • Saturday Service Fee (only applicable if interment is on a Saturday)- $525


Saturday Services are limited between the hours of 9am - 11:30am (must conclude by noon)

Interments are Monday- Friday between the hours of 9am - 2:30pm (must conclude by 3pm)


St. Francis Green Burial at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery


Since the graves in St. Francis are not designed for direct visitation (eventually the area will be re-forested naturally), the names of everyone interred in the section will be placed on a large community marker near the entrance to the section - the cost of inscription is included with the Right of Interment of the grave.

Memorialization on individual graves is an available option, however, it is limited to simple natural stone markers with sandblasted inscriptions. Unlike markers and upright monuments in other sections of Mt. Calvary, these natural stone markers will not be maintained, trimmed or raised as the ground settles. Natural stone markers were chosen to blend in to the natural surrounding area eventually becoming one with the ground.


The natural stones are designed to have name and dates, separated by a simple Latin cross. These stones are to be made of quartzite or a similarly hard material and must be between 3" and 5" thick, between 12" to 30" wide (left to right) and between 12" to 18" high (top to bottom). Stones must be flat on top to accommodate flush placement with the ground.

Mt. Calvary is not responsible for damaged, lost or stolen markers in this section or for any type of memorial maintenance.

Pre-planning for Green Burial at St. Francis in Mt. Calvary

When choosing green burial as your final resting place, a few things will vary from a traditional casket burial interment. Unlike traditional interments, where a specific grave location has been selected, green burial interments take place in the next available grave. This means that purchasing traditional side by side graves for family members is not an possibility, since grave location is determined at the time of death. 


Purchase for green burial at St. Francis is made through our guaranteed trust program - which includes - prepayment for your administration and interment fees, memorialization and the right of Interment to a non-designated grave in the St. Franics green burial section. Your pre-funded trust is fully refundable, so there is essentially no risk to those that choose to pre-fund a green burial interment.


Green Burial Rules & Regulations


  • Cemetery staff will not perform any dis-interments from green burial graves.

  • Families may, with the cemetery's approval, plant or donate plants from an approved list of native species on their loved ones grave.

  • Fresh cut flowers may be placed in the St. Francis green burial sections. Artificial flowers are not allowed.

  • Glass, plastic, wire, pins and any non- naturally occurring materials are prohibited at all times.

  • Director of Cemeteries or a designee, has the right to plant or remove plants within the green burial section, regardless of whether the plants are on the approved plant list.

  • Cemetery is not responsible for maintaining trails in the green burial section - the cemetery will allow the natural re-forestation process to occur unimpeded.

  • Green burial sections are designated as "non-visitation" areas. Cemetery is not liable for injuries occurring to hikers and visitors.



Body Preparation

  • No embalmed bodies are allowed within designated green burial sections.

(Exceptions may be made for bodies embalmed with natural embalming fluid.)​

  • Bodies are to be dressed in natural materials (i.e. cotton and leather) to the extent it is practical.

Sale of Interment Rights

  • Right of Interments to non-designated graves within the St. Francis 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. The cemetery has the right to cancel the purchase of any non-designated grave (see fees above).

  • Customers are eligible for a full refund from their trust (plus interest or less losses) if the green burial program is discontinued due to changes in City, County, State, or Federal laws and/or regulations, or due to circumstances deemed beyond the cemeteries' control.


Placement of Cremated Remains

  • 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 Director of Cemetery'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

  • No outer burial containers (concrete or plastic) are allowed in designated green burial graves.

  • Burial containers, caskets, and casket alternatives must be made of naturally occurring material including but not limited to: wood, sea grass and wicker.

  • All natural burial containers or caskets must be rigid or semi rigid and have at least four adequate handles able 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 the carrying and lowering of the body into the grave.

  • All interments in the green burial section will be inscribed on the cenotaph located at the entrance to the section.