A cremation urn has been selected, and the memorial service or funeral for your loved one has occurred. Now, the final step is choosing the resting place for the cremation urn.
A final resting place that is gaining in popularity is a cemetery or church columbarium. If 'columbarium' is a new idea or unfamiliar word to you, you are not alone.
What is a columbarium? A columbarium is an above-ground structure designed to hold cremation urns. It can also be called by sepulchre or crypt. The latin root of the word columbarium, columba translates as ‘dove’, referencing the structural similarity of a columbarium to a dove cote*. Columbariums are often stacked structures or walls with cubbyholes or niches where an urn -- or sometimes several urns -- can be placed. These niches can be open or glass-fronted for viewing the urn, or they may be closed with a door or plaque covering the opening with a family name engraved on the exterior. Columbariums may be indoors within a mausoleum or outside as a freestanding wall.**
*Online Etymology Dictionary
**Cremation Association of North America
Many columbariums are located within churches or cemeteries in areas designed to be peaceful and dignified with an understanding that families may be visiting and reflecting there. In fact, a major reason that people choose a columbarium is that it is a permanent memorial (like a headstone) and provides a physical location to acknowledge a life and/or family.
There is a rental fee or purchase price for a niche in a columbarium much like you would expect for a burial plot in a cemetery. Prices can vary depending on the location. The cost can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. For more information on pricing, we suggest you contact your local parish or cemetery. You can also read more about funeral costs on the Stardust Memorials Blog.