Cemetery Pre-planning Q&A

With Peter Beauregard, director of facilities and Catholic cemeteries for the Diocese of Burlington

What is pre-planning?

Pre-planning is making your cemetery and funeral arrangements prior to your death. This allows your wishes to be known, thus eliminating an incredible burden on your loved ones during the very stressful and painful hours after your death. Pre-planning is a concrete sign of your love for surviving family members. Catholic Cemeteries family services counselors are trained to assist you in this important task.

What are the benefits of pre-planning?

The most obvious benefit is that you will relieve your loved ones of the burden of making your cemetery and funeral arrangements at a time of tremendous grief. Your advance planning will give your family the guidance they need to feel comfortable that they are carrying out the decisions you made. Pre-planning may prevent disagreement among survivors at an emotionally charged time and can assure that emotional over-spending does not occur. By preplanning and prefunding cemetery and funeral arrangements, you may be creating exempt assets should you ever have to go on public assistance. The costs of cemetery property have been escalating at the rate of 100 percent every 10 years. By purchasing in advance, you are locking in a today’s pricing.

At what age should I consider preplanning cemetery and funeral arrangements?

Adults of any age who make their own decisions should have a plan. Like your will, it can be revised throughout your life as needs change. In general, the earlier you preplan, the more options you have. Your cemetery and funeral options will probably never cost less than they do today. Statistics show that 43 percent of all deaths are unexpected; we are not guaranteed any tomorrows.

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

First and foremost, Catholic cemeteries are a vital part of our Church’s heritage of caring for and burying the bodies of the dead in blessed ground — one of the corporal works of mercy. Since our cemeteries are an extension of the ministry provided in your parish community, our Catholic cemeteries are gathering places of remembrance, consolation and communal support. The Eucharist is celebrated in the cemeteries at some times during the year. Religious symbols, which are expressive of our heritage of faith, are seen throughout our cemeteries. A caring staff dedicated to the mission of serving God’s people tends the grounds and offices.

Choosing a Catholic cemetery as a final resting place is a statement of your belief that, even in death, the people of God await the resurrection of the body and everlasting life. Your

Catholic cemetery gives you a place where your loved ones can come to remember you and all generations past and future.

The Bishop’s Annual Appeal supports the oversight of several Catholic cemeteries and guidance for all Catholic cemeteries in Vermont. To make a donation, go to bishopsappealvt.org.

Originally published in the Aug. 1-7, 2020, issue of The Inland See.