I am the Resurrection and the Life
What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is a place designated for the inurnment of the ashes of the dead. Since the earliest days of the Christian Church, disciples have been concerned with the reverent disposal of the remains of the faithful departed. These were typically placed in cemeteries, crypts, and columbaria set apart and blessed for this purpose. The most treasured location has been within the church grounds.
At All Saints' Cathedral, the place chosen for this focus of reverence is the narthex, or entryway of the cathedral. While this represents an area of convenient access, it also ensures proximity to the sacred space of the church and thus encourages an atmosphere of prayer and recollection of the departed.
Preparation for a reverent facing of death should not be regarded as morbid or inappropriate. In fact, such preparation is fully consistent with our understanding of the faith journey and is a sign of effective Christian stewardship.
Cremation of the bodies of the faithful has long been an accepted practice within the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion. With an ever expanding population and an increasing concern for land use, coupled with escalating burial expenses, cremation has become a more common practice. From a theological and liturgical perspective, cremation does not in any way alter the practice or custom of the church at the time of burial.
Following the Requiem Eucharist in the church, the ashes of the departed, contained in a simple urn, are placed in a designated columbarium niche, and the final portion of the funeral service is prayed in the presence of family members and friends. Once the service is over and the necessary preparations are completed, the niche into which the urn has been placed is closed with a permanent cover, and an appropriately engraved nameplate is affixed.
The initial construction of the columbarium was undertaken in 2002. It was designed and constructed by The Studios of E.J. Potente, and shows a sensitivity to the architectural character and liturgical practices of the Cathedral. The central focus of the Columbarium is the Good Shepherd Shrine and the historic Kemper Altar. Phase I on the north wall of the narthex has 104 niches. Phase II on the south wall, constructed by A. Fillinger Inc. in 2016, has an additional 96 niches.
The columbarium is managed by the Columbarium Board, which consists of the Dean and three members of the Cathedral. Members are elected by the Chapter for three-year terms and serve under the direction of Chapter. The board directs the financial accounting of the columbarium. Funds received at the time of signing are held in a separate fund for the construction and maintenance of the columbarium.
The Dean and assisting clergy of All Saints' Cathedral are concerned with the pastoral needs of its members. Both in life and death the Church seeks to witness to the truth of the Gospel and form and guide us in the way of Christian faith. Inherent in this ministry is a desire to help members cope with the reality of death and dying issues, both for themselves and others. It has been the consistent teaching of the Episcopal Church that its members should make necessary preparation for their own death, insure the solidity of a profound resurrection faith and (when appropriate) provide for the care of survivors. It is singularly appropriate that burial plans be made as a part of this preparation.
All parishioners are encouraged to discuss these matters with appropriate persons, including clergy and family members. Your clergy are trained for this purpose and are available to serve you in this regard.
Eligibility & cost
All Saints' Cathedral columbarium serves as a visible witness to the Church's understanding of the Communion of Saints. Our intention is to provide a final resting place for the cremated remains of members of the Cathedral and their families as well as other individuals within the Diocese. The columbarium is part of the fabric of the Cathedral and is under the spiritual and legal care of the Dean, Wardens, and Chapter.
The cost of the right to use a niche (prices range from $800 to $1,400 depending upon location) includes the urn for the remains, engraving the nameplate (with the name, date of birth, and date of death of the departed), and inurnment in the columbarium. Urns may be provided by a funeral director or other source designated by the survivors but must conform to dimensions specified in the terms and conditions to allow for convenient installation. (The dimensions of the niche are 7 7/8" wide, 12" deep and 6 3/8" high.)