A brief history
While we often consider cremation a modern development, it has been in use (though mostly Pagan) by civilizations dating back to 3000 B.C. Between 2500 B.C. and 1000 B.C., cremation was introduced to Northern Europe. By the rise of the Roman Empire, 27 B.C. to 395 A.D., cremation was quite commonplace. Exquisite urns housed the cremated remains and were frequently kept in small buildings.
Standardized cremation was introduced a little over a century ago with the invention of the modern crematory. The first crematory was introduced in 1876 when Dr. Julies LeMoyne built the first crematory in Pennsylvania. By 1900, there were 20 crematories in the United States – and today there are more than 2000.
At the end of the 20th century, cremation was chosen by more than 25 percent of households. That number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decades.
What exactly is cremation?
While the logistics for cremation have modernized in the last century, the basic process itself is much the same as it was 5000 years ago. Quite simply, intense heat is applied to the body to reduce it to bone fragments.
Today, cremation chambers are used to apply this intense heat. We believe the body should be handled with dignity and respect. Consequently, we require a rigid container, like a casket, to house the body for the cremation process. The casket is then placed in the cremation chamber where, through heat and evaporation, the body is reduced to bone fragments, which is referred to as cremated remains. These remains are processed and then placed in a container and returned to the family.
Depending upon the size of the body, there can be three to nine pounds of cremated remains. Processing reduces the space required for the remains and they are easily fit into an urn of the family’s choosing.
Remembering A Life
By choosing cremation, you do not have to forgo the ceremonies and traditions that bring comfort at the time of death. Churches, including the Catholic Church, allow cremation and welcome families for final services. Funeral homes also provide a spectrum of final services, from traditional to highly personalized, for those choosing cremation. If the final service has not been coordinated beforehand, it is very important that you communicate your wishes to the funeral director and the cemetery as soon as possible.
Why Plan Ahead?
• Funeral and cemetery costs can be the largest single expenditure in a person’s life after the purchase of a house. Why leave that burden to your family when you can make affordable monthly payments by planning ahead?
• The stress of losing a loved one is only increased by the uncertainty of what their final wishes are. Even if you indicate that, for example, you want to be cremated, there are dozens of other decisions that need to be made. Make the days after your death a little easier for your family by having your arrangements already made.
• The stress of a loss, combined with scores of decisions that need to be made immediately, often cause arguments and hard feelings among family members. Eliminating this burden can truly be a gift
Back to Nature Cremation Gardens
Cremation gardens are areas of the cemetery specifically designed for burial of cremated remains. The gardens offer wooded areas for privacy and natural beauty. Families may choose from a variety of engraved Granite Boulders or Benches to memorialize their loved ones.
Garden mausoleums house urns in an above ground granite structure with the deceased’s information displayed on a bronze plaque.
Those choosing cremation may always opt for traditional burial in any available grave-site. The burial of two cremated remains are allowed in one full size grave. It is also permitted, should the family desire, to place Cremated remains on top of an occupied grave of a family member. Several memorial options are available for traditional burial.
Above ground inurnment is normally accommodated by placement of the urn in a niche (one remain per niche). Our niches are part of our Garden Mausoleums made of solid granite. Bronze plaques are used for memorialization which is included in the cost of the niche. The inurnments of three remains are permitted in our full size Garden Mausoleum crypts.
Dealing with the Inevitable Today
You’ve explored cremation and its options. Maybe the information we’ve presented has solidified your decision or maybe you want to explore other options. Regardless of your decision, the simple fact is that we will all require final arrangements at some point. The outcome is inevitable, so delaying making your final arrangements will only result in increased stress for your family. Making your arrangements before need is simple. You’ll meet with one of Gethsemani’s family counselors. They will provide you with all the informations you need and a tour of the cemetery. Gethsemani is a non-profit that has been serving Lima and Allen County since 1896. Our mission is simple: to help families make decisions that will ensure that their final arrangements are as they wished and that their family is relieved of one more burden during a very difficult time. No one should be forced to make these decisions uninformed and unprepared. Make the call today. You’ll be happy you did.
At need arrangements can be very expensive
There is a minimum of 15 bills that will come due at the time of death
• Doctor Bills
• Hospital charges
• Medicine and drugs
• Cemetery Property
• Memorial or monument
• Current or urgent bills, including
mortgage and taxes
Many of these bills can be handled in advanced, sparing your family the difficulties of facing a pile of bills during the most stressful time of their life.
Our Beliefs on Cremation
1. “Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites.” (OCF #413) “When the choice has been made to cremate a body, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the Funeral Liturgy.” (OCF #418)
2. “The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they came. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement, transport and the final disposition.” (OCF #417) It is never permitted to divide or separate a person’s remains.
3. The proper disposition for the cremated remains is for them to be buried or entombed in a Catholic Cemetery, a mausoleum or columbarium in a manner that will provide a guarantee of perpetual care. The principal of respect for the cremated remains of a deceased Christian embraces the deeper belief in the individuality of each baptized person before God. Throughout history, the mingling of remains has never been an accepted practice, except in extraordinary circumstances.
4. “The practice of scattering cremated remains at sea, from the air, on the ground or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased is not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.” (OCF #417)
5. “Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.” (OCF #417)
6. Catholics are strongly encouraged to be buried or entombed in a Catholic Cemetery, where there is an assurance that the remains of the person will be treated with reverence and perpetual care.
7. Once the cremation process has been completed, it is the expectation of the Church that the cremated remains will be buried or entombed without undue delay, recognizing that there may be a need to transport the remains to another, perhaps distant, location.
8. Using a common grave, ground or niche where the cremated remains of several persons are scattered, poured, buried or combined without individual urns or sealed containers is to be completely avoided. Gethsemani Cemetery provides pricing and financing that encourages the interment of cremated remains.
9. When the faithful choose cremation, it should be for good and just reasons and not solely on the basis of financial need. Gethsemani Cemetery will work with the families who are financially challenged.
10. If possible, a priest or pastor should accompany the remains to the cemetery and perform the prescribed liturgical rites. God thinks so highly of this human body, that on the last day, it will be resurrected. Should we not treat it with any less respect.
Please call the cemetery for additional cremation information, 419-233-0484.