Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington

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Ask the Managers

     

     

Who actually owns the property at the cemetery?
The purchase of property at a Catholic cemetery of the Archdiocese of Washington is not a real estate transaction, but rather a faithful agreement between a family and the Church. The family purchases the right of burial or entombment in the site. The Church retains ownership of the property and takes responsibility for respectfully maintaining the gravesite in perpetuity. As an additional help to families, the purchase price of property at one Catholic cemetery of the Archdiocese can be transferred later and applied to property at any other major CCAW cemetery.

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If my parents purchased six sites and they are buried in two of them, who is entitled to the remaining four sites?
Catholic Cemeteries follow the inheritance laws of each local jurisdiction. In general, all the children inherit the remaining burial sites of a family grave purchased by their parents, unless otherwise specified in a will. If one child has a need to use one of the sites, the other children must all sign an authorization, as well.

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Can non-Catholics be buried in a Catholic cemetery?
Catholic cemeteries have been established by the Archdiocese of Washington to serve the burial needs of the local Church. However, Catholic cemeteries are open as well to all of God’s children. The Church asks that family members abide by the regulations and traditions that make the cemetery a Catholic place of prayer, remembrance and faithful anticipation of the Resurrection of the Body of those who believe in Jesus Christ.

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What can I do with cremated remains?
The Catholic Church requires that cremated remains be treated with the honor and respect due to every human body. Therefore, just as a full body is interred in a cemetery immediately following the Funeral Mass, the Church requires that this same reverent act take place for cremated remains as well. Most Catholic cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington feature sections for the ground burial of cremated remains, as well as wall niches for entombment in a mausoleum.

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Why can’t the cremated remains of more than one family member be put together in one burial space?
Most grave sites at a Catholic cemetery can be used for two burials, whether the family chooses cremation or full body interment. This policy ensures that each unique person receives enough physical space for the memorialization of each unique life.

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What is a burial trust and how does it benefit me?
A burial trust sets aside funds at today’s prices for a future burial. Often the trust includes the purchase of the grave site and outer burial container, and the opening and closing fees. In addition to the financial benefits, a burial trust ensures that burial arrangements have been taken care of, providing peace of mind for surviving family members.

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What happened to my flowers?
Catholic cemeteries welcome the age-old tradition of bringing flowers to the gravesite of a loved one. In fact, this gesture helps contribute to the beauty of the cemetery. Unfortunately, sometimes flowers may be eaten by wildlife such as deer. Other times, they are removed by the cemetery staff when they begin to wilt and lose their beauty. Artificial flowers are welcome before and after the grass mowing season. During that time, however, the wires in the flower stems pose a safety hazard to the mowers, maintenance staff and cemetery visitors.

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Why can’t I have any type of marker I want?
The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington appreciates that memorialization is often the last practical arrangement of reverence and honor that a family can make on behalf of their loved one. Therefore, Catholic cemeteries offer a variety of options for memorialization in sections that feature either flat bronze or upright granite markers. This balances the family’s longing for a unique expression of their loved one’s interests and devotions, as well as the Church’s insistence on the equal dignity and worth of each person buried in the cemetery.

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Why must the casket be placed in an outer burial container?
The Catholic cemeteries of the Archdiocese require that all interred caskets and urns be placed in either a concrete liner or a vault. This practice helps keep the cemetery grounds as safe and attractive as possible while at the same time protecting the interred remains. By requiring an outer burial container, the casket or urn is less likely to be disturbed during burials of adjacent graves, and the gravesite is less likely to sink. The use of outer containers gives family members the peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved ones’ remains are undisturbed as they walk and pray on the grounds of a cemetery that is both safe and beautiful.

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Why should I make pre-need arrangements for goods and services at the cemetery?
Families who come to make arrangements right after a death are grief-stricken and often numb over their loss. At the cemetery, there are a number of choices to make concerning location and memorialization. Small details can be overwhelming. Since there are also some significant economic factors to consider, family members can often differ on how to proceed. By planning ahead of need, however, families have some measure of peace knowing that arrangements are in place. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington encourage families in making these faithful acts of preparation.

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What should I do if I have additional questions?
The managers of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington would be happy to answer your questions. Contact a manager directly at the Catholic cemetery near you or send an email through the contact us page.