Natural Burial: The Sustainable Alternative for Catholics is the title of the special session created for the sixty members of the University of Life Long Learning Institute who came to Calvary Cemetery to hear more about this earth friendly method.
Rick Meade began with the definition of natural burial and explained how the ancient practice is all new.
Father Chris Worland, Head of the Dayton Deanery, read the parts of Canon Law applying to the Rites of Christian Burial and reassured the group that natural burial fits easily within the parameters of good liturgical observance. “The service and prayers in Church and at the gravesite are exactly the same as a traditional burial,” he reported.
Mrs. Marge DeVito, St Francis of Assissi Parish, whose husband Bill was recently buried in the St Kateri Preserve, related that the experience was “deeply meaningful and very personal” to the couple and their entire family.
Executive Director Rick Meade (right) moderates the funeral director panel discussion. (left to right) George Carpenter of Tobias, Rick Snider of Baker, Hazel and Snider and Thomas Routsong, Routsong Funeral Homes. A biodegradable casket was displayed. Photo by George Kibler
A panel of three funeral home directors who have prepared people to be interred in The Preserve shared important details of planning to be buried naturally. The eco friendly chemicals used for embalming or the choice not to embalm create a situation in which a viewing should occur within three days of the death. The condition of the body at death is a consideration. The funeral home directors emphasized their willingness to work with families to fulfill their desires for a family viewing and the presence of the body in church. They have been able to accommodate almost all requests.
A presentation of the overall design plan for The Preserve was given by Adam Ravestein and Tom Rothfus of Scarff’s Nursery and Landscape. The five year deveolpment of the prairie, lake, walking trails and memorial walls was described as being on target. Horticulturist Mitchell Ward shared the list of native Ohio grasses, plants, shrubs and trees being installed on a seasonal schedule to create a self sustaining landscape.
A tour of the grounds and statue area concluded the day. Family Services staff members Kelly Wright and Judy Pavy were on hand to help those with additional questions about planning their natural burial. To date there are sixty lots sold in The Preserve and there have been ten burials, five cremations and five full body.