INTERMENT OF ASHES What it means for Interment of Ashes in the Crypt of a church
Remember you are dust, and unto dust you shall return”. These words from the Book of Genesis remind us that we were fashioned from the dust of the Earth. After our death the pilgrimage of faithful souls continues so that by God’s mercy they will be lead into Paradise and even unto heaven itself.
Our bodies, vehicles for our souls on their journey through this life, return to the Earth. However, as taught by St Paul, Christians believe that at the end of time God will raise our mortal bodies and make them like His own in glory.
Physical death is the end of the human person, and as those who belief in the resurrection of the body, a care and reverence for the mortal remains of those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith is fitting.
Within the Church, in the context of the Funeral Mass and the Final Commendation, the body of the deceased it is reverenced with incense, signifying that during the deceased person’s lifetime their body was a temple of the Holy Spirit.
“Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord: And let light perpetual shine upon them”
From the earliest days of the Church, and especially in Rome, ordinary Christians were buried near the remains of martyrs. The
catacombs, which date back to the second century, bear witness to this. Offering the Eucharist at the tombs of the martyrs – often with the top of a tomb serving as the altar – became a powerful affirmation of the Communion of Saints, the unity and love shared by all Christians, whether in this life or in that which is to come.
Christians originally met and prayed in “house churches”, often the larger homes of congregation members. When buildings began to be erected specifically for Christian worship, wherever possible they were placed close to, or directly above, known graves of martyrs and other Christians. So as never to lose the sense of the Communion of Saints in the Eucharist, the custom arose of having at least one saint’s relic embedded in the actual altar stone. To this day, during Eucharistic worship the priest kisses the altar as an expression of the love that binds Christians of every age within the fellowship of the Church .
Today, especially in churches lacking a churchyard or cemetery, it is common practice for a crypt, or space to be created beneath an altar, for the interment of ashes following a cremation.
Roman columbaria were designed for the placement of the cremated remains of pagans. In recent decades, as cremation has become common place for Christians, a columbarium in proximity to the very place where that Sacrifice is offered in which heaven and earth are sacramentally linked, serves for the respectful depositing of ashes of the deceased, expressing reverence to those who, like us, believe in the resurrection of the body, and the Communion of Saints.
Costs of Interment at All Saints’
The current charge is $750 per interment which includes a container for the ashes of the deceased and for a brass plaque engraved with the name and dates of birth and death.
Niches can be reserved in the walls within the Columbarium by individuals and families, and for each niche a receipt will be issued.
Access to the Crypt will be by arrangement with the Parish Priest .