It is usually around this time of year that I try to give an update on one of the most emotionally striking and visually beautiful locations on our campus: the Memorial Garden. For those of you that may not be aware, St. John is blessed to have a cemetery on our campus as the final resting place for our Parish Family, if they so choose. It is built to support 2155 souls that have decided to be cremated and interred here at our church. The Vatican recently released a new information document on Cremation and its acceptance by the Catholic Church: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/10/25/vatican_issues_new_document_on_christian_burial,_cremation/1267621. Our Memorial Garden can be found out the back doors of the North Wing of the church, where our Blessed Mother Mary and Baby Jesus statue can be found. It is an incredibly serene and healing place, where families and friends come to visit and remember those they have lost.
This beautiful location has been available since 1995 for our Parish Family, and it has undergone several updates over the years. Our dedicated staff and volunteers perform a labor of love to ensure the Memorial Garden is a comfort for all that visit. We are now at 92% capacity, with only 172 plots available. Of that, 36 are specifically reserved for Knights of Columbus members and their families. We continue to make this an extremely affordable option, at only $1750 a plot (which is for one individual). The purchase of the plot includes:
- Plot land in perpetuity – This Memorial Garden is a permeant fixture and even if St. John was no longer at this location, that land will always be a Memorial Garden.
- Urn – A beautiful and simple bronze urn that is specifically sized for our Memorial Garden and ensures the cremains are safe and protected.
- Granite marker – This simple marker has been chosen to ensure all headstones are the same and they are ordered at the time of someone’s passing. It takes about 8-12 weeks for delivery and installation, and we will contact the next of kin to ensure they are aware that the marker is in place.
- Interment – Did you know the simple rite at the grave can be performed by itself or as the continuation of the funeral Mass? This service is included.
While this one-time fee covers all the above, it can be broken out into manageable payment plans so as to not cause any undo burden. The only increase we are being required to include in all future purchases of Memorial Garden plots in the taxes of the cost of the plot. We will be including those taxes starting as of July 1, 2017.
We are ensuring the ability of the Memorial Garden to continue to be a healing location and comfort to all that spend time in it. New lighting will be installed as the current lights need to be replaced due to wear and tear over the years. The landscaping is constantly evaluated to ensure we provide the ability for flowers to be placed on the graves by visitors and that it reflects the simple and warm environment we want to provide. We need all of your assistance with this task. In order to make sure the Memorial Garden retains its simple and restful environment as well as to protect the graves and landscaping, we are instituting the following policy:
All artificial items placed within the Memorial Garden by visitors will be removed on Thursday mornings. We will attempt to retain these keepsakes, vases, artificial flowers, potted plants, flags, and other items for 30 days after their removal in a box in the Church Office, but we cannot be held responsible for any items as this is a publically accessible location. It is highly recommended that visitors utilize the flowering plants of the Memorial Garden as the primary way to remember their loved ones.
Here are the reasons for this policy:
- Retaining the serene environment: There have been several complaints that too many items are impacting the ability for other families to find and view their own loved one’s headstones.
- Safety of the landscaping: Artificial items may damage both the headstones as well as the grounds of our Memorial Garden. The reason we are choosing Thursday mornings to remove all items is that we have our landscaping company that services the campus on Thursdays, and they have a difficult time properly cleaning the Memorial Garden with the items.
Please assist us with continuing to provide this beautiful location for generations to come.