Cemetery Cremation Guidelines

Guidelines for Families Planning Cremation Burials

As cremation gains acceptance and becomes more common in Catholic cemeteries throughout the nation (over 70% of burials at our cemetery are cremation burials), families have questions about making arrangements for the interment of their loved one’s cremated remains. These guidelines are intended to help by answering some of those common questions.

1. Where do I start?

You may elect to have a funeral home take care of the arrangements: scheduling a committal date with the cemetery, contacting a priest for the committal prayers, etc. You also have the option of making your own arrangements. If so, our staff will guide you through the process. Regardless of who is scheduling the cemetery committal service, families wishing to lay a loved one to rest in our cemetery must first schedule an appointment with one of our family service advisors (FSAs) to complete the necessary authorization paperwork and to ensure all relevant fees have been paid.

2. How do cremated remains get to the cemetery? 

Typically, cremated remains are brought to the cemetery by the funeral home that handled the arrangements following the funeral Mass or service. If the death occurred in another state, the funeral home there can arrange for the cremated remains to be sent to a local funeral home or family member. Families also have the option of transporting the cremated remains themselves, without the assistance of a funeral home. It is important to ensure that the cremation certificate, provided by the crematorium, accompanies the urn at all times. 

3. How do I schedule a committal service at the cemetery?

At the time of someone’s passing, there are many details to tend to and calls to be made. Funeral homes are a great resource at this time, assisting families in coordinating services with local churches and cemeteries. Committal services at the cemetery with prayers by a member of the clergy are held either at the site of the grave or in a mausoleum chapel if the cemetery has one. As cemeteries are not equipped to offer wake or visitation services, families may schedule a time for visitation at a funeral home or local restaurant. Families may also contact our cemetery directly to schedule a burial. See our contact information below. Interments are done between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Saturday burials may be scheduled between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. There is an additional fee for Saturday services. The cemetery does not perform burials on Sundays or holidays.

4. How much does it cost?

Please call one of our family service advisors to discuss your specific situation. Applicable fees may include: the niche or grave space, opening and closing of the space, additional rights, overtime or Saturday fees, and urn vault (the outer container into which the urn is placed for in-ground burial).

5. What are “additional right” fees for cremation burials?

Unless in a cremation garden section, every cemetery grave comes with one burial right: the right for one person to occupy that space. An “additional right” fee would apply for a second cremation burial, space permitting, in an already occupied grave. Graves in our cremation garden sections automatically come with two burial rights.

6. Are vaults/liners required for urn burials?

Urn vaults, also known as liners, are required at our cemetery. These protect the urn from contact with the elements and from corroding over time. Urn vaults may be obtained from the cemetery or a funeral home. Mackenzie Classic© urns are designed as an urn/vault combination and so do not require an outer urn vault.

7. What should we expect on the day of burial?

The site will be set up with a small table, draped in greens, on which you can place the urn during the committal service. Following the prayers and words of  remembrance, the family may remain for the burial. If the family is transporting the urn to the cemetery, please be sure the “cremation certificate” accompanies the urn that day.

8. Can cremated remains be separated and shared with family members?

From the time of our baptism, our bodies took on a sacred character as we became temples of the Holy Spirit. Even after death, our temporal bodies bear the image and likeness of our Savior. As such, our bodies, even in cremated form, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The separation of our remains into jewelry and other trinkets demeans the sacredness of our bodies and is therefore strongly prohibited by the tenants of our faith. Separated remains should be returned to the cemetery for proper burial.

Please contact a family service advisor for more information:

Calvary Cemetery in South Portland & Holy Cross Cemetery in Yarmouth: 207-773-5796

St. Joseph & St. Mary Cemeteries in Biddeford: 207-282-0747

St. Ignatius & Notre Dame Cemeteries in Sanford/Springvale: 207-324-6040

St. Peter and Mt. Hope Cemeteries in Lewistion and St. Anne, Mt. Calvary, Sts. Cyril & Methodius Cemeteries in Lisbon/Lisbon Falls: 207-782-8721