What does it mean when a cemetery is listed as being “closed”?

by | Jul 27, 2023

Every cemetery has a limited life dependent upon the amount of land that it owns. Cemeteries that only do earth burial often run out of “saleable” space for burials more often than cemeteries that have erected mausoleums or columbaria which can increase the density for burial on smaller acreage. Once a cemetery has no options for burial of any kind, it is “closed.”  

When a cemetery is first created, there are often many roads that are designed to run through it. When the cemetery begins to run out of land, some of the roads are reclaimed and made into areas for burial. It is what keeps the cemetery active. For many historic cemeteries, this is the only way they can continue to sell burial space.  

Mausoleums and columbaria have also been a solution for older cemeteries. Each of these will have a land footprint, but they are built upward to accommodate bodies or cremated remains without using a large amount of land. Church cemeteries have begun to look at columbaria as a way of accommodating the rise in cremation without using up their available land.  

We have only one “closed” cemetery, Assumption, in New Hope. It is a very old church cemetery that we inherited. To our knowledge, all available land has been used for burials. We cannot offer the possibility of burial to anyone unless they have a right of burial on previously purchased property in the cemetery. We do maintain this cemetery and people may visit it.  

In the past few years, we have taken out roads in both Calvary and St. Mary’s cemeteries in order to expand both historic cemeteries. We have also allocated land for expansion of the mausoleum in both. At this point, we cannot estimate when these cemeteries will be considered closed. Hopefully, with the options available, it will be a long time.  

In the meantime, if you desire to be buried within one of these historic cemeteries, it would be advisable to look at the options available and purchase burial property while it is available. Property is not an unlimited resource. 

Interested in purchasing a burial space at one of our cemeteries? Call 651-228-9991 or email info@catholic-cemeteries.org to be connected with a Family Service Specialist.