Calvary Cemetery has two areas specially dedicated for cremated remains. Resurrection Garden is one.
On Tuesday, the Vatican issued guidelines for the disposition of the ashes of the cremated, according to the Associated Press.
To read the AP story, click here.
Simply put, the Vatican does not condone the practice of spreading ashes, or separating a person’s remains. Although cremation is an approved practice (within certain guidelines), the remains should be buried in a consecrated place.
“To set the faithful straight, the Vatican said ashes and bone fragments cannot be kept at home, since that would deprive the Christian community as a whole of remembering the dead. Rather, church authorities should designate a sacred place, such as a cemetery or church area, to hold them,” stated the article.
According to local sources, this is not a reversal or change in the Church’s stance on cremation or accepted burial practices. It is more an affirmation of a longstanding position. In the Greater Mankato Area, the clarification has already been disseminated to the local congregations through the clergy during the past year.
Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller says there had been a trend, substantiated by comparing the local parish deaths with burials, indicating that a growing number of local Catholics had either been spreading the ashes of those departed, or stowing them away at home.
“I think many people weren’t aware of the Church’s position on cremation,” said Terry. “But this past year, there’s been a big drop in the number of those unaccounted for. I’m guessing the word has been getting out from our priests.”
Terry says anyone who has been putting off a burial and storing remains at home, can call him without hesitation to make arrangements for burial. Terry also said he has heard of more than a few practical mishaps involved with keeping remains at home.
“I’ve heard it all,” he said. “And, it’s not uncommon to hear of someone who’s ‘lost mom’s ashes’ during a move. To me, it’s better to settle things at the right time.”
Nationally, the Vatican’s announcement caused a measure of media discussion. The renowned Whoopi Goldberg, for instance, during a broadcast of the show, “The View,” talked about scattering her mother’s remains in all kinds of indiscriminate places.
“You can’t dictate what is sacred,” she said, explaining that her mother said she didn’t want to “spend the money” (presumably on a church burial).
Goldberg, according to Net Worth and Biography 2016, is considered to have a net worth of $45 million (link). So clearly, it’s not always a matter of money but of prevalent popular views — views that were echoed by her co-hosts during the broadcast.
But to many, the Church’s clarification will make uncommon sense. We are all connected to those who brought us into the world and raised us, and connected as well to those who did the same for them. To many, it makes sense to create as permanent a marker, and a meeting place, as possible…a focal point for future generations to visit and venerate their forbears, to celebrate their triumphs or learn from their mistakes…and, maybe make a prayerful appeal for future generations.
On film, it’s all too easy to remember “Roots,” and a descendent of Kunta Kinte standing at his grave, venerating his forebear’s struggles. What if that grave never existed? What if Kunte Kinte’s remains had been scattered to the winds?
— The Calvary Ghost Writer