Holy Family Memorial Garden and Columbarium

What specifically is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a structure for the respectful and usually public storage of funerary urns, holding cremated remains of the deceased. The term columbarium is derived from the Latin columba (“dove,” or “pigeon”), and it originally referred to a pigeon house or dovecote. In the Catholic Church, the cremated remains entombed in the columbarium are given the same kind of care and respect as the bodies buried in a cemetery.

"The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, and the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains on the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires."--United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

At St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the columbarium is a wall structure situated adjacent to the church building, in an open space easily accessed by visitors.

The niches are 16 inches wide, by 9 inches high, by 20 inches. Each niche can hold two urns.

All funeral services will be in accord with the Funeral Rites of the Catholic Church.

What about my pet?

Pets may not be buried in a niche.

Who may be interred in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Columbarium?

The columbarium is intended for the use of the parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Exceptions may be made for immediate family who are not parishioners
However, this is limited to the spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the purchaser.

May non-parishioners purchase in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Columbarium?

A limited number of niches are available for purchase by active and registered Catholics from other parishes, and may be
purchased with the agreement of the Columbarium Committee and the approval of the Pastor. There is an increased charge
for purchasers who are non-parishioners.

The purchaser may inter only immediate family members (limited to the spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and
grandchildren of the purchaser).

What is the cost of a niche?

The price of a niche in the columbarium a Parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is $2,500.00. The price of a niche in the
columbarium a Catholic from another parish is $4,000.00.

Will these prices ever change?

Yes and no. 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.

What proof will I have that I purchased a niche?

A contract will witness the Right of Interment of cremains purchased with the payment of the appropriate fee for a specified niche in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Columbarium.

 I purchased a niche for myself.  If I later decide to add another person, can I do so?

Yes, assuming the second person meets the qualifications previously described above. 

May more than two people be interred in a niche?

No.  There is sufficient space for up to two urns in a niche.

 Must I supply my own urn? 

Yes, but all urns must meet the standards of worthiness set down by the U.S. Bishop’s Committee and will be appropriately sized to fit inside the niche which is typically 13 inches wide by 7 inches high by 20 inches in depth.  The size will also depend on whether there will be one or two urns in the niche. Measurements will be provided by St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

 What happens if I purchase a niche in the columbarium, then move away?

Upon receipt of your contract for the niche, it is the intent of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church to provide a refund of your original purchase price, less $100 and incurred expenses, if any, for those who have purchased the Right of Internment but no longer plan to exercise this right. 

 May I decorate the area near my niche with flowers?

The columbarium site is perpetually maintained in a manner designed to be consonant with Catholic tradition of what is a sacred space (beautiful, serene, holy and edifying).  Additional fresh floral arrangements (not artificial) may be placed at the base of the columbarium.  Flags, statues, or other decorations may not be placed on or near a niche or any other location. 

 I am interested in purchasing a niche.  What is the process?

Simply contact the parish office at (936) 348-6368.  The staff at the office will arrange for a member of the Columbarium Committee to contact you and provide whatever assistance that you need including a copy of all documentation relating to the Columbarium and available methods of payment. Upon payment of the fee, you may choose a niche location.  The order of selection will be determined by the order in which each purchase was made in relation to other such purchases. Payment in full for the niche is required to secure a place in the selection process described above. Payment in full must be received before an available niche may be selected from the diagram. To reserve a niche, full payment is required at the time that the contract is signed.

 Will I be able to sell the niche I purchased to a third party?

No. The only possible exception would be to members of our own parish, or non-parishioner Catholics as described above. However, this possible exception must not take place without consultation with the Columbarium Committee and the Pastor. This consultation must not be construed as a guarantee that the request will be granted. As is stated clearly at the beginning of this response, the answer is No.