Home' The Southern Cross : June 2016 Contents Page 12 June 2016
Southern Cross | bereavement
The growing trend of people being
cremated has prompted a number of
parishes to establish a resting place for
the ashes of the faithful departed.
At least six parishes have already
developed a columbarium – where urns
holding the cremated remains of the
deceased can be stored.
The term comes from the Latin word
columba (dove) and originally referred to
the compartmentalised housing for doves
which are, coincidentally, often seen as a
symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Glenelg parish opened a columbarium
adjacent to Our Lady of Victories Church
in High Street in 2013. Since then, the
ashes of 30 people have been either
immured in the memorial wall or interred
in the garden alongside a plaque. Another
80 parishioners have reserved a place in
the columbarium which has capacity for
392 in the wall and 150 on the ground but
with scope for more panels to be added
to the wall.
Deacon Pat Edwards said parishioners
had really embraced the project. “It’s a
win-win situation, people want to be close
to their church and their family, and would
rather the money for immurement or
interment go to the parish than someone
else,” he said.
Deacon Edwards estimated about 70 per
cent of Catholics favour cremation over
burial and these days the commital rite
was often carried out several months after
the funeral Mass in a small ceremony at
He said a licensing agreement was
entered into between the parish, through
the Catholic Church Endowment Society,
and the applicants to immure or inter
ashes on the parish premises. Unlike most
cemeteries with memorial walls for ashes,
the lease was in perpetuity and only one
fee was required, in addition to the cost of
the plaque and installation.
Parish priest Fr Anthony Kain said the
columbarium project was first mooted
as part of a strategic planning process
undertaken in 2008 to determine what
was required to sustain people’s faith.
He said it coincided with the need to
develop the area between Our Lady of
Victories Church and the parish house
where the grass had died due to watering
Today the garden is laden with Mary
MacKillop roses and other healthy plants
while the water feature provides a tranquil
touch to the sandstone walls of the
columbarium. A rose bush named after
Daughters of Charity founder Louise de
Marillac was the ideal resting place for a
client of the Hutt St Centre who died while
living in Housing Trust accommodation at
Named St Mary’s Columbarium, the
memorial garden includes a statue of Our
Lady of Fatima which overlooks the water
feature and circular walls.
Fr Anthony said it was a lovely, quiet place
for people to come and sit while they
thought and prayed about their loved one.
“There’s something very peaceful about
it,” he said.
“I used to see a man sitting here every
week on the bench seat and he told me
he was talking to his wife. Then he died
and his ashes were placed next to his
“Another time I saw a young woman
sitting here reading and I told her she was
surrounded by blessed spirits.”
Fr Kain said country parishes typically
have a cemetery alongside the church
and the tradition was to “walk through the
dead, the communion of saints, on your
way into the church”.
Other parishes with columbaria include
Brighton, Salisbury, Albert Park, Aberfoyle
Park and Dernancourt.
Parishes seeking further information
can contact the Archdiocese of
Adelaide Property Office on 8215 6858.
RESTING PLACE: Deacon Pat Edwards and Fr Anthony Kain at the St Mary’s Columbarium. Below: The Brighton parish
columbarium adjacent to St Joseph’s Church.
Peaceful place for the departed
By Jenny Brinkworth
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