About Your Cemetery
Visits to the cemetery are very personal times for you and your family. We encourage you to use your Catholic cemetery to pray, reflect, and meditate. Your Catholic cemetery is a place of peace and comfort, a place to talk to God and to visit your loved one.
Cemetery Grounds – The cemetery gates usually open by 8:00 am and close at dusk. You are welcome to visit the cemetery during daylight hours seven days per week. Please use general safety precautions, such as locking your car and being aware of your surroundings, while visiting.
Mausoleum – The chapel mausoleums remain locked at all times. Personal keys are available. Your cemetery's office can provide additional information.
Office Hours – Calvary and Holyrood: Monday through Saturday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm. Gethsemane: Monday through Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm. Saturday by appointment.
Circumstances sometimes change this schedule and a call to the office is recommended.
Flowers and Decorations
Flowers are a fitting symbol of life in all its beauty. They are an eloquent testimony of love and respect. Permanent plants or decorations cannot be permitted. Decorations deemed objectionable can be removed at the discretion of the Cemetery Management. Glass or breakable containers are never permitted in the cemetery because they are a hazard to both grounds keepers and other cemetery visitors. While the cemetery makes every effort to protect decorations placed at the cemetery, we cannot assume responsibility for any which are lost or damaged. Normal cemetery care requires us to remove all decorations on a regular basis. During the months of April through October, this is often done weekly. Occasions, such as holidays and holy days, may require special decoration removal schedules. Please contact your cemetery office for details. The Cemetery Management retains the right to remove anything which it considers unsightly, dangerous, or impedes the progress of normal cemetery operations.
Grounds – Decorating with fresh cut flowers is always welcomed. In-ground flower vases are available from the cemetery office. Potted plants are permitted in grave areas only. Artificial flowers are permitted on graves during the non-mowing months of November through March.
Crypts and Niches – Potted plants in mausoleums present a safety hazard and will be removed. While artificial flowers are permitted on mausoleum crypts and niches all year round, they are removed when they appear unsightly or are inappropriate to the season of the year. Bronze vases are available for placement of flowers and decorations on crypt and niche fronts. The appearance of flowers or other decorations taped to the crypt and niche fronts hardly adds to the beauty of the area, no matter how thoughtful the remembrance may be. In addition, the placement of decorations or other remembrances on crypt and niche fronts will eventually damage the polished finish and are not permitted.
Cemetery Care and Maintenance
People sometimes ask: "Why do we pay for cemetery care and memorial care?" Your Catholic Cemetery makes every effort possible to maintain beautiful and picturesque cemetery grounds. What does this entail?
Lawns – Every season of the year brings unique lawn care maintenance issues. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall, mowing the lawns is continuous. Graves and memorials are leveled on an ongoing basis. Special attention is paid to this during the winter months due to settling caused by the rain soaked lawns.
In addition, we fertilize, edge, irrigate, control weeds and other pests on over 90 developed acres. This is equivalent to ongoing care of 900+ average home owner's lawns.
The climate of the Pacific Northwest creates some special challenges-specifically the annual appearance of moss. To keep the cemeteries attractive and safe, the moss is removed from buildings and walkways by pressure washing on an annual basis. Moss prevention and eradication in the burial areas of a cemetery is particularly problematic. Most methods available to address this problem can potentially damage memorials permanently.
Irrigation – Now that we explained how we mow an equivalent of 900+ lawns, we must also water all of that same grass to maintain a green healthy appearance. Some of our cemeteries use city supplied water, others have their own wells. Imagine your water bill multiplied 900 times!
During the winter months the irrigation lines are drained and the systems are turned off until the threat of freezing temperatures is over. In the Spring and Summer the systems are in constant use requiring ongoing maintenance.
Water is a precious resource. We take our responsibility for it very seriously. As stewards of God's precious gift, we actively participate in conservation efforts. Sometimes this means that we cannot water, and the lawns will turn brown. You can be assured, however, that we do take all prudent steps to uphold the health and quality of our turf grass.
Flower beds – Essential to the lasting beauty of the cemetery, flower beds require regular weeding, replanting, trimming, beauty bark and mulching.
Trees and Shrubs – Just as flower beds enhance the cemetery's appearance, trees and shrubs also add to overall beauty and serenity. Part of the year round maintenance of the cemetery is the care of all the varieties of trees and shrubbery. Each tree and shrub requires annual pruning, trimming, and spraying for pests. Truckloads of leaves are cleaned off the lawns and roads weekly throughout Fall and Winter.
Buildings, Roads, and Walks – Throughout the cemetery are a variety of buildings: offices, maintenance shops, mausoleums, niche units. Each of these must be inspected regularly. In addition, roofs need repair or replacement and the buildings must be cleaned and painted. They contain a variety of complex systems: electrical, water, and sewer. The roads and walks also require regular attention and preventative maintenance. This includes resurfacing, repairing trip hazards, and edging curbs. In addition storm drains require ongoing upkeep.
Equipment – Each cemetery has a wide variety of equipment that must be purchased, maintained, fueled, and replaced at the end of its useful life. Included in this list are tractors, trucks, lawn mowers, trimmers, edgers, as well as the tools to maintain all of these. Did you know that the average riding lawn mower costs nearly $20,000 and has a useful life of only 6 years?
Staff – Your Catholic cemeteries are committed to providing equitable salary and benefits to all of its employees. All employees and departments are essential to providing our Catholic families with the level of service that you deserve.
Memorial Care – How does memorial care differ from cemetery care? There is more to caring for a memorial than placing it on the grave. Once placed, we assume the additional responsibility of individually trimming each memorial on regular intervals throughout the year. Upright monuments require trimming more frequently than flush memorials. They also increase the mowing time of a particular section by over 50%. We must also level and straighten memorials. Your investment for memorial care ensures this service year after year. For example, memorials placed at Calvary Cemetery more than 100 years ago are still being cared for in this way.
Cemeteries, like people, have a distinct life cycle. One day there will be no more room for burials. However, all of the maintenance described here, and the expenses that go with it, will continue. Your contribution to the Care Fund ensures that your family's burial sites and memorials will continue to be maintained.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your cemetery's office. We appreciate hearing from you. This enables us to review and improve our service to you and all of the other families using the Catholic cemetery.
Thank you for putting your trust in us.
The staff of Associated Catholic Cemeteries can assist you if you would like additional information. Please contact us or call toll free: 1-888-784-8683