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“A Sacred Place of Rest”

You have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.
But when Christ is revealed - and he is your life -
you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.
Colossians 3:3-4


Why should I choose St. Mary’s Cathedral Columbarium as a final resting place?

-A Catholic Columbarium situated on consecrated ground at the Cathedral of the
Diocese of Colorado Springs

-A lasting legacy for you and your family centrally located in historic downtown Colorado Springs at the mother church of Roman Catholicism in the Pikes Peak Region

-A dignified and cost-effective Catholic alternative to casket burial

-Supports the Corporal Work of Mercy by providing a permanent resting place for
our beloved

-Perpetual maintenance and security of the Columbarium


Burial within the church itself or in the adjacent churchyard was once a common practice.
Historically, Christians from the earliest time have buried their dead in the consecrated areas in close proximity to their place of worship where they could be remembered and their remains

In 1965 the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church was amended to allow for cremation as an alternative to casket burial for the final disposition of our beloved dead.  In 2005 a Columbarium was constructed in St. Mary’s Cathedral plaza courtyard attached to the east wall of the Cathedral Sanctuary.  The mission of the Cathedral Columbarium is to provide the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Colorado Springs and their family members a final resting place, consecrated and conserved in a spirit of dignity and reverence for loved ones at rest.  As Catholics, we begin our lives in the back of the church at the Baptismal font.  We spend our lives within our church facing forward to the Altar.  How fitting to complete our existence here by remaining on the church grounds where it all began. There is great consolation in having a loved one at rest near their church. Family and friends often stop by for a prayer or meditation on their way to or from Mass.

The location of St. Mary’s Cathedral columbarium is a powerful symbol of our faith. It is a statement of our ultimate goal to live this life in Christ so that one day, through death, we can share in eternal life with God. It is meant to provide a peaceful and serene place of
repose for the deceased, and a sacred and restful environment for the living.  It is a timeless memorial to those who have preceded us in death.


What specifically is a columbarium?
The term columbarium comes from the Latin word for a “dwelling place of a dove.” Christians believe the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. A columbarium is a vault, or wall with niches to store the cremated remains of the dearly departed. A niche is a shelf-like space in the columbarium structure used for the inurnment of cremated remains. Urns are placed in these niches as a final resting place for our loved ones. At St. Mary’s Cathedral, the columbarium is a walled structure. There are 864 niches located on the east exterior wall of the Cathedral building on the church grounds. The columbarium provides an attractive location for grieving, prayer and meditation.

Who may be inurned at St. Mary’s Columbarium?
The Catholic Faithful of the Diocese of Colorado Springs and their family members are eligible to be inurned. With approval by the Columbarium Committee, the purchaser may inurn immediate family members who are not parishioners within the Diocese of Colorado Springs. However, this is limited to the spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the purchaser. The family members do not have to be Catholic. All funeral services at St. Mary’s Cathedral will be in accord with Roman Catholic rites.

If I choose to be cremated, what are the advantages of choosing the columbarium as opposed to a cemetery?
This is a personal choice. Many people choose to be buried in a columbarium at their church, because of a strong desire to be laid to rest on the grounds of a church that they loved and served. They like the simplicity of the liturgy and want to preserve a nearness to the church and perpetuate a relationship that has been a lifelong pursuit. Those who choose to be placed in a columbarium at the church often are attracted by its religious focus and the nearness to the church. The proximity makes it convenient for visits by loved ones and for periods of meditation and reflection.

Also, the cost for being placed in one of the niches is usually less than the cost of interment in a cemetery. Other factors that may influence your decision to choose inurnment in a columbarium are concerns about the environment, space available in a cemetery, and the flexibility cremation offers in ceremony planning and in the disposition of the remains.

What is the cost of a niche? As of October 2017 the cost is $2400. This fee includes the right of inurnment in the reserved niche, the transfer of the cremains into our urn, the urn, engraving on the lid of the urn, engraving of the niche cover plate, opening and closing the niche at inurnment, and ongoing care and security for the Columbarium. The fee does not include the cost of cremation, transportation, or any other funeral costs.

Will these prices ever change?
These are today’s prices and may be raised at any time without notice. However, once you have purchased a niche, there will be no further charges, even if the price should rise in the future.

How are niches assigned?
Niches are selected and assigned on a first-come basis at the time of purchase with the down payment. If you choose not to select a niche location, we will select one for you.  A contract for purchase of the Right of Inurnment will be provided to witness the transaction.

What proof will I have that I purchased a niche?
A signed contract will witness the Right of Inurnment when you make payment for a specified niche in St. Mary’s Cathedral Columbarium.

Can I add the cremated remains of a second person to my niche?
No, each niche is only large enough for the cremated remains of only one person.

May I supply my own urn?
No, the purchase of a niche includes a custom-made urn.

What happens if I purchase a niche in the Columbarium, then move away?
Prior to occupancy in the niche, you can either transfer interest to another family member, or we can arrange a refund of the purchase price excluding the non-refundable deposit. Once the niche is occupied, there are no refunds. However, upon written notice to St. Mary’s Cathedral, you may relocate the urn with the cremated remains of your loved one to another cemetery if the need arises.

May I decorate the area near my niche with flowers?
The columbarium site is perpetually maintained in a manner designed to be beautiful, serene, holy and edifying under the direction of the Columbarium Committee. Flowers may be placed at the time of inurnment and will be removed by the Columbarium Committee after 48 hours. Additional floral arrangements, flags, statues, or other decorations may not be placed on or near a niche or any other location in the Columbarium without the written approval of the Columbarium Committee and the written concurrence of the Pastor. Under no circumstances are flowers to block sight lines to any niches in the Columbarium.

Access to Columbarium
Access to the Columbarium is from the west side Cathedral parking lot. Columbarium hours are as established by the Administrator from time to time and will be posted on the property.  Generally, the hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, and during worship times on the weekends. At other times the courtyard is locked for security. During winter months, the brick pavers in the courtyard are heated so no ice will build up on the pavers. During summer months, the courtyard has a variety of living and flowering plants as well as benches for prayerful meditation.

Records Retention:
A permanent record of the St. Mary’s Cathedral Columbarium is maintained by the Columbarium Committee and is available at the administrative office of St. Mary’s Cathedral. The records are kept current on a continuous basis.

As a Catholic, may I be cremated?
Yes; however, given the sacred dignity of the body, the Church recommends that the custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed to await the Resurrection. Cremation is now permitted, but it does not enjoy the same value as the burial of the body of the deceased. In May, 1963, the Vatican’s Holy office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith) lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation. This permission was incorporated into the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983 as well as into the Order of Christian Funerals. It then became standard practice to celebrate the funeral liturgies with the body and then take the body to the crematorium. Most recently (circa 1997) the bishops of the United States and the Holy See have authorized the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with the cremated remains present even when the body is cremated before the funeral.

Must cremated remains be buried/entombed?
Yes. Respectful final disposition of cremated remains involves inurnment or entombment. Burial options include a family grave in a cemetery marked with a traditional memorial stone or an urn garden, a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns. Another choice is to be inurned in a columbarium.

Can I scatter the ashes? May I keep the ashes on my mantle?
No. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. Burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be dropped into the sea.

May anything be added to cremated remains such as cremated remains of other persons, pets, and other objects?
No. The principle 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.

When should cremation take place?
The Church strongly prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body. The presence of the body most clearly brings to mind the life and death of the person and better expresses the values that the Church affirms in its rites. However, in some circumstances it may not be possible to have the body present. In those situations, a full funeral liturgy may be conducted with the cremated remains present.

Out of respect for loved ones, you will want to do all you can to carry out the wishes of the deceased concerning funeral services provided they are in keeping with Church practice. Yet, you must always keep in mind the therapeutic value to the family of celebrating the full funeral liturgy with the body present. This may significantly outweigh your reasons for cremation before the funeral liturgy.

Is it necessary to purchase a casket?
No, it is not necessary to purchase a casket for cremation. Your funeral director can explain the options available. If you choose to have the body present for the funeral liturgy, with cremation to follow, casket rental is an option. Many funeral directors offer regular caskets for rent, as well as the special cremation or shell caskets that you may purchase.


The Funeral Rites

What Funeral rites are celebrated when a person is cremated?
All the usual rites, which are celebrated with a body present, may also be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. In an appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals, the United States bishops have included prayers to be used when the cremated remains of a loved one are present in church.

Should I schedule a Funeral Mass before or after cremation?
The Church strongly prefers cremations to take place after the Funeral Mass. However, if it is not possible for the body to be present at the Funeral Mass, an indult has been granted by the Holy See which provides for the celebration of the Mass or Funeral liturgy with the cremated remains in church.

What happens at the Funeral Mass with cremated remains?
A journey, which began at baptism, comes to conclusion as we enter into eternal life. Significant attention should be given to the primary symbols of the Catholic Funeral liturgy, as stated in the Order of Christian Funerals and its commentaries. The paschal candle and sprinkling with holy water are primary symbols of baptism and are used during the Funeral Mass. However, the pall is not used. Photos and other mementos may be used at the vigil, but are not appropriate for the Mass. During the Funeral Mass, the cremated remains should be treated with the same dignity and respect as the body. They are to be sealed in a worthy vessel. They are placed in a custom-made ossuary (a wooden container that holds the urn during the Funeral Mass) and placed adjacent to the Easter candle.

How much time elapses from the Funeral Mass until the remains are inurned in the columbarium?
If the body is present at the Funeral Mass, the funeral director will advise you on the time necessary to cremate the body. Usually, it is a day or two. The inurnment then follows. If the cremated remains are present at the Funeral Mass, typically inurnment immediately follows the Mass. It is customary to take the remains of the dead immediately to the place of rest after the Funeral Mass for inurnment. The location of the Cathedral Columbarium permits immediate procession following the Funeral Mass to the columbarium.

Is a ritual conducted when the remains are inurned in the columbarium?
Yes. The Rite of Committal is very similar to the service conducted at a grave site in a cemetery. It is the prayer service that concludes the Order of Christian Funerals, following the Vigil and the Mass of Christian Burial. It completes the journey that began at birth.

While nearly everyone acknowledges the need to plan, only a small percentage actually take the time to plan. The cost of our lack of planning often affects those in our life that we cherish the most. Will you provide for your spouse, children, church, and descendants? Will you bless your family during their time of grief, through preparation and planning?  Please call us at (719) 473-4633 to purchase a niche in St. Mary’s Cathedral Columbarium.


St. Mary’s Cathedral Columbarium

22 West Kiowa - Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Phone (719) 473-4633 - FAX (719) 473-5248

“A Sacred Place of Rest”

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.