CLYDE — Most people, upon hearing of a cemetery’s upcoming expansion, would likely assume it was expanding outward and adding more land for plots. At St. John’s Cemetery in Clyde, however, parish officials are undertaking a project to build upward instead.
Officials at Clyde’s St. John the Evangelist Parish have decided to construct a new mausoleum at the cemetery, which already features two mausoleums. The first mausoleum was erected in the early 1990s and the second one soon followed in 1996. The need for a third mausoleum became evident last fall, when the number of crypts available for sale began to dwindle, said parish secretary Gloria Garofono.
"They did the first one and then all the sudden that one was filled. They did the second one, and now that one’s almost filled. We only have two crypts left," she said.
Each of the existing mausoleums is a rectangular granite structure with four rows of crypts along its two longest sides. One mausoleum is fronted by an etching of the Virgin Mary being assumed into heaven, and the other is adorned with an etched picture of a traveler on a path and a passage from the Book of Job, "In my body I shall look on God, my savior."
Construction of the new mausoleum will hopefully begin this summer, Garofono said. Even so, the parish already is selling crypts.
"We want to pay for it (the mausoleum) ahead of time. We don’t want to have a bill," she explained.
The parish is hoping to sell at least 50 crypts before breaking ground on the mausoleum, which will have room for 120 crypts, she said. This structure will be larger than the other two mausoleums, which each hold 96 crypts. One of the existing mausoleums also includes 56 niches for cremated remains.
The existing mausoleums stand side by side in a corner of St. John’s Cemetery, and the new mausoleum will be located behind these two and run perpendicular to them. The parish also hopes to enclose and erect a peaked roof over the space between the three mausoleums, Garofono said.
"If you’re looking over the top of it from the sky it will look like a cross," she noted.
This enclosed space may be used for funerals or services, especially during the cold winter months, and the parish hopes eventually to run electricity to this area, Garofono said. There’s already a wide cement walkway between the two existing mausoleums, so it should be fairly easy to connect the three structures after the new one is built, she said, but all this will cost the parish approximately $27,000.
In late December the parish began advertising the new mausoleum and crypts in the bulletin. Members of the parish staff and cemetery committee also will be visiting other parishes in the area — especially those that don’t have their own mausoleums — to drum up interest, Garofono said, noting that people don’t have to be parishioners or even be Catholic to be laid to rest in St. John’s Cemetery.
"We’re trying to get people interested in it (the mausoleum) now and we’ll give them a discount off the entombment fee," Garofono said.
The normal entombment fee is $225, but this will be waived for people who purchase crypts by May 15. Prices for crypts will vary depending on their locations within the mausoleum, Garofono said. Crypts on the side of the structure that will be enclosed will be more expensive than those on the structure’s outside wall. Crypts in level B, which is the second level from the ground, also will be more expensive because they will be at eye level, she said.
Even so, most of the crypts still will cost less than the average price for burial in the ground, Garofono noted. The average price for burial in the cemetery — including the cost of the vault, headstone and grave opening — is about $3,525, according to a notice in the St. John bulletin. The least expensive crypt, meanwhile, may be purchased for $2,792, and even the most expensive one may be purchased for $3,833. Many parishioners were surprised to learn it is less expensive to be laid to rest in a crypt than in a grave, Garofono said.
"They never realized until we put that in the bulletin that in-ground burial costs more than the price for entombment," she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information or to purchase a crypt in the new mausoleum, contact St. John the Evangelist Parish at 315-923-3941.