Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Catholic Cemeteries and Burials

Who can be buried in a Catholic Cemetery?

Catholic cemeteries are generally for the burial of Catholics because the Catholic burial place implies a sharing of common belief and the same community of... read more

What do I do when there is a death in my family?

If you already own a cemetery lot, and the deceased's wishes are known, contact the priest from the person's parish for prayers and for the consolation of... read more

Can I purchase a burial lot before a death occurs?

Yes. Because the time of death is often traumatic, with emotional and financial strain, it is advisable to select a burial lot in advance. Thoughtful... read more

I've never liked the idea of being buried "in the ground." Are there alternatives?

For entombment or above-ground burial, you may choose a crypt in what is commonly known as a community mausoleum. Some archdiocesan cemeteries have a... read more

Does the Church allow cremation?

Cremation is acceptable, although the Church prefers burial of the body. When cremation is chosen, burial of the cremated remains in a suitable container is... read more

I plan to be cremated. What arrangements should be made for my cremated remains?

The remains of cremated bodies should be treated with the same respect given to the corporeal remains of a human body. This includes the manner in which... read more

Can my remains be scattered or kept with my family?

The practices of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping the remains in the home of a relative or friend of the... read more

I have an organ donor card, can I still be buried in a Catholic Cemetery?

Yes. The donation of a body or specific organs for medical research or organ banks is appropriate and should be arranged in advance. Subsequent burial or... read more

Do the Catholic Cemeteries require burial vaults?

Yes. A concrete liner, or a metal or concrete vault must be used for all in-ground burials in the archdiocesan cemeteries and can be purchased through your... read more

When I purchase a burial lot, do I "own" the ground?

Graves and crypts are conveyed by easement which does not convey direct ownership but an exclusive and permanent right of use. Even though the term "deed"... read more

To whom does the lot pass after the purchaser dies?

Upon the death of the registered owner, interment rights automatically descend to direct blood heirs equally, unless rights are specifically assigned to a... read more

How can I ensure who can be buried in the lot after I'm gone?

If the lot holder shall have filed notarized written instructions at the main office of the cemeteries as to which member or members of his (or her) family... read more

Can someone who is not a member of my family be buried in the lot?

When a non-blood heir is to be buried (except in the case in which he or she is named by the owner or in the record on file), all other blood heirs must... read more

Can I sell my lot to someone else?

The use of a lot is for the lot holder or lot holder's relatives for interment purposes only and not for resale or profit. When permitted, a person who is... read more

Can I return a burial lot that I have purchased?

Any unoccupied lots (purchased prior to 5/28/14) may be surrendered without question, and the full original purchase price will be refunded. If a lot is... read more

What type of monument or marker is permitted on a gravesite?

The type of memorial permitted in archdiocesan cemeteries depends on the location of the lot within the cemetery. Some sections are designed exclusively for... read more

Do the Catholic Cemeteries sell monuments or markers?

Yes, The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia do sell memorials. See one of our experienced counselors who will guide you through the... read more

What is "perpetual care?"

More appropriately defined as endowed care, these funds are essential for the continued maintenance and care of lots, roads, buildings and features in the... read more

Does endowed care include care of the headstone?

The family is responsible for the maintenance of the memorial. The cost to repair damaged memorials is often covered by the family's homeowner's insurance... read more

What types of decorations are permitted on gravesites?

Cemetery staff are responsible for the maintenance of the grounds of the cemetery, including grass cutting, planting, and repair of the landscape.... read more