The Feasts of All Saints Nov. 1 and All Souls Nov. 2 are special days to remember the faithful departed. On All Saints, we recall all the men and women, canonized and not, who lived lives of remarkable faith. On All Souls, we commemorate all those who have gone before us, often celebrating special Masses in our parishes and visiting the graves of our loved ones. Both days also remind us of our own mortality.

As the Church approaches this season, Danielle Rafte, Family Service Representative with Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Syracuse, offers answers to common questions about Catholic burial.

Why should Catholics choose to be buried in a Catholic cemetery?

Catholic cemetery grounds are consecrated and are an extension of the Catholic Church. They ensure that those who are together in life are kept together in death. Being buried in a Catholic cemetery is a final act of faith and a witness to the belief in the resurrection and everlasting life.

Who can be buried in a Catholic Cemetery?

Catholics and their family members. We want to keep families together.

How do I make my wishes known?

The best way to have your wishes known is to share them with your loved ones. They need to know what you want and that you have purchased burial space in a cemetery. Even if they don’t want to hear it now, they will be thankful in the future that you planned ahead and made decisions for them. I find that after a family buries a loved one who pre-planned, those family members come in and do their own pre-planning. They appreciate the fact that it was all taken care of ahead of time, and they want the same experience for those they will leave behind.

Should I choose a grave or crypt?

Choosing the type of burial space is a personal preference. Sometimes families pick graves because they think they are the most economical choice. At first glance, it seems that way because a grave costs less than a crypt upfront, but other expenses come with graves, such as memorialization and burial vaults. Once these are purchased, there often is not that big of a difference in price. If you are unsure whether you want your final resting place to be a grave or a crypt, it would be best to set up a meeting with one of our Family Service Guides, and they can explain your choices to you.

Are there advantages to purchasing the space before a death?

There are many advantages to purchasing your space before death. I think most importantly, it takes the stress off of the deceased’s loved ones. With that, you will be choosing what you want and loved ones won’t have to guess. Also, it is economical to do it ahead of time, and prices do increase over time. I always tell people to do it as soon as possible.

Should I buy space for my entire family?

Before buying space for your entire family, you should have a conversation with them to see what their wishes are. If they want to be in a crypt and you wish to be in a grave, the space you purchased may go unused. Although death is not a popular topic to discuss with your family, it is meaningful to have conversations about your final wishes and that you are pre-planning.

Is there a monthly/yearly fee I pay for maintenance?

There is not a monthly/yearly fee for maintenance. We include maintenance costs in the cost of the burial space. We then take a percentage of that cost and invest it for use in the future.

Are payment plans available?

We have interest-free payment plans available for those who are pre-planning.

Can Catholic Cemeteries help me look up genealogy?

Yes! The best way to look up genealogy is to email us at with names of the deceased, the dates they passed, and which cemetery they were buried in. The more information you give us, the easier it is for us to locate your loved one.

Catholic Cemeteries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, Inc.

  •    • Our Lady of Peace Cemetery and Mausoleum, Baldwinsville
  •    • St. Mary Cemetery, Clayville
  •    • St. Mary Cemetery, Cortland
  •    • St. Mary Cemetery and Mausoleum, DeWitt
  •    • Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, Johnson City
  •    • St. Patrick Cemetery, Johnson City
  •    • Sacred Heart Cemetery, Lakeland
  •    • St. Paul Cemetery, Oswego
  •    • St. Peter Cemetery and Mausoleum, Oswego
  •    • St. Agnes Cemetery, Syracuse
  •    • Sacred Heart Cemetery, Syracuse
  •    • Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, Utica
  •    • Holy Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum, Utica
  •    • St. Mary Cemetery, Utica
  •    • St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Cemetery, Utica
  •    • Mount Olivet Cemetery, Whitesboro

   Visit syracusecatholiccemeteries. org or call (315) 475-4639 to learn more and set up an appointment at a cemetery near you.

Website Proudly Supported By

Learn More