Parish Cemeteries: Updates & News

A message from Msgr. Plante

4 March 2020

Over the past several months I have been working to reorganize our cemetery records and update our procedures and rules and regulations. I have been meeting with contractors, vendors, and surveyors to try to learn what type of improvements we can make in how things are done, what changes do we need to make to respond to current needs, and if, where and when we can expand and improve our cemeteries. It amounts to a total overhaul of our cemeteries which is both a unique ministry of this parish and also a proclamation of the Church’s belief in the resurrection of the dead.

As a priest and pastor, I recognize that I am personally responsible to uphold Canon Law in regard to our parish cemeteries, especially Canon # 1243: “Appropriate norms are to be enacted by particular law for the management of cemeteries, especially in what concerns the protection and fostering of their sacred character.” In the Church’s view, all Catholic cemeteries, are “consecrated ground.” They hold this distinction not merely because a priest or bishop blessed the ground, but because they are the gathering place of the deceased faithful who await the second coming of Jesus Christ.

This past week we initiated new procedures in our meetings with individuals and families who are looking for a resting place for their loved ones or themselves. One of the first things that we needed to change was the terms we use. Many of you may hold a “Deed” to a cemetery lot. However too many people associate the term “Deed” only with owning a plot of land. In legal terms however the word “deed” refers to “a legal document that is signed and delivered, especially one regarding the ownership of property or legal rights.” So, to clarify what it means for us when we “sell a grave” we now refer to this transaction as a “Rights of Interment Contract.”

This contract between the parish and the purchaser lists the location reserved for a particular individual or family and describes how many and what type of burial the purchaser has the “right” to use. For example, a single grave in Mt. Calvary Cemetery can hold two caskets and two burials of urns or containers of cremated human remains. In such a case a contract for burial in a single grave grants the purchaser four “rights” of burial.

Listed below regulations and rights that are printed on the back of the Rights of Interment Contract.

Parish Cemeteries of St. Aidan-St. Patrick

Rights of Interment

As of 3 March 2020

Canons and Regulations: The Rights granted under this Contract are subject to all canons, regulations, laws, discipline, norms and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church now in force or hereafter enacted within the Diocese of Providence as construed by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

Ownership: The Purchaser(s) acknowledge that this contract grants Rights of Interment,of solely human remains, in the specific space chosen and does not constitute the purchase of a real estate interest. Nothing in this contract is to be construed as granting any right, privilege, or ownership of anything other than the right of interment/inurnment granted upon purchase. The Parish retains full legal title to its cemeteries and retains full discretion to grant or authorize any action at all its sites.

Number of Rights Per Lot: Each single lot can first accommodate the burial of two caskets and following, two urns or containers of ashes. If space allows for the burial of additional cremated human remains, the owners of the lot will be required to purchase additional Rights in addition to the interment fee.

Assignment or Designation of Right(s): Purchaser has the right, at any time, unless in default under this Contract, to assign Purchaser’s Rights in this contract to a specified individual, subject to the written consent of the Parish. Such assignment must first be recorded upon Parish’s record before it shall become active.

Purchaser(s) Responsibility: All the Purchaser(s) agree that they are primarily, jointly and severally liable herein, and that no release of one or more Purchaser(s) shall release any other Purchaser(s).

Payment of Contract: Purchase of interment Rights must be paid in full prior to interment and/or installation of a memorial. Purchaser may pre-pay this Contract in full, or in part, at any time before maturity of the final installment. If the purchaser fails to make any payment within (60) sixty days of payment due the parish agrees that due diligence will be made to contact the Purchaser and/or Rightful Owner for full or partial payment under this contract or to offer the Purchaser the option of buying back the agreed upon Rights. (see below).If the Parish is unable to contact the Purchaser the parish may declare said agreement canceled and all Rights of the Purchaser to the lot, or niche forfeited. The lot or niche will be returned to the Cemetery inventory and the Purchaser’s name removed from the records.

Buy Back Policy: If the Purchaser wishes to return the agreed upon Rights, the Parish shall refund all monies paid with retention of a maximum of 10% of the total price to cover administration costs. At no time would the Parish be required to pay back more than the Purchaser has already paid to the parish. When returning interment Rights for a lot or niche the Purchaser must return to the Parish the Rights of Interment Contract and/or Certificate of Rights. Refund of monies due will be paid within 90 days after signed documents are received. Interment Rights may not be resold to anyone else; only the Parish may buy back the Rights of Interment from the original Purchaser(s) or heirs. However, once a burial has taken place the Rights of said lot are no longer returnable nor saleable. Also, once permanent engraved memorialization has been completed on a niche, the niche is not returnable nor saleable.

Certificates of Rights and Pre-Need Upon payment of the cost of the Rights defined in this contract, the Purchaser will be provided with a Certificate of Rights of Interment. Likewise, if the Purchaser pre-pays the Interment Fees, a certificate of pre-payment will be issued stipulating the number and type of interments that have been pre-paid.

Interment Fee: An interment fee will be charged by the Parish at the time any interment is made, unless fee has been pre-paid or included at the time of sale.

Inscription Fee: Purchasers of columbarium niches must purchase the inscription at the time of inturnment unless said inscription is included in the cost of the niche. The Parish will install the inscription when possible after the Parish receives payment for the inscription and the Purchaser pays any prior balance in full.

Concrete Burial Liners: All caskets for in-ground burial must be placed in an outer burial container, as specified by the cemetery. A lot may accommodate a standard outer burial container for a casket with the following dimensions: 2’0” high X 2’6” wide x 7’ long. Use of a larger burial liner or vault may reduce the number of interments originally intended for which the Parish is not responsible and for which no restitution or refund will be made. Acceptable niche urn sizes vary with each niche location and must be verified by cemetery office before inurnment.

Parish Rights: The Parish holds all rights to amend, add, or resign any policies, procedures, rules, regulations, prices, etc. without notice. Rules and regulations for floral arrangements, plantings, decorations, and monuments are published under separate cover and it is the responsibility of the Purchaser and/or owner to review abide by these regulations.

The parish reserves the right to remove from its graves any decoration or embellishment that it deems to be irreverent, inappropriate, faded, or damaged as well as any items that may present a hindrance to regular maintenance or a hazard to workers or visitors. In addition, the parish reserves the rights to carry on any business activity permitted by law within cemetery grounds.

If at any time the Parish is unable to fulfill any part of the Contract, the parish retains the right and option to return to the Purchaser(s) all monies paid under this contract upon which this contract shall become null and void. Or in the case of the Parish being unable to provide the property selected by the Purchaser, the Parish may substitute burial property, reasonably comparable in character and location to that which was originally selected.

Change of Address: The Purchaser(s) is responsible for informing the Parish of any change of address or change of possession of this contract.

Cemetery Rules and Regulations of the Parish and Parish Cemetery: A complete copy of the rules and regulations will be furnished to the Purchaser(s) within 60 days of signing and at any later time requested by the Purchaser(s) or descendants.

Entire Agreement: The Purchaser(s) agree that this Contract contains the agreement between the Purchaser and the Parish. The Purchaser understands that any statement or promise made by any counselor, agent or other person claiming to represent the Parish shall not be binding unless contained in this Contract.