St. Joseph Catholic Church

Sandpoint, Idaho

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The Columbarium

The St. Joseph Columbarium will honor parish members and their immediate families who have chosen to have their cremated remains inurned in perpetual rest in our church. The Columbarium is a sacred space that affirms the Church's care for its members from Baptism through death and eternal life. It provides a way to remain spiritually and prayerfully connected to our community of faith.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Columbarium?

A columbarium is a structure with spaces called niches to house urns containing the cremated remains of the dead. The word is derived from the Latin word columba which means dove. This name may have been chosen beacuse of the resemblance of the burial niches to dovecotes, or beacuse the dove is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit whose presence is associated with the resting place of the departed.

What is the cost of a niche?

The cost of a niche is $4000 for either one or two persons. Each niche holds two urns. The price includes:

A Certificate of Niche License for a specific niche in the St. Joseph Catholic Church Columbarium
One urn with name plaque
Engraving on the granite faceplate
Opening and closing of the niche for inurnment

Additional fees for a second urn in a niche are:

Additional urn with name plaque: $125.00
Engraving on the granite faceplate: $150.00
Opening and closing of the niche: $200.00

Please note that registered parishioners are entitled to a $400 discount off the package price. Also, no engraving is performed until an eligible family member has died.

What are the advantages of the indoor Columbarium at St. Joseph?

It provides a beautiful, peaceful, clean and reverent space
It provides a secure space in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament
It provides year-round access for visitations of the departed
There is a substantial cost advantage of cremation vs. burial

What is the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding cremation?

In 1963, the Catholic Church approved cremation for Catholics. According to the Church, cremated remains should be buried or entombed and receive the Rite of Committal in accordance with the Corporal Works of Mercy. The Church teaches that the scattering of the remains, keeping them at home, or dividing them are not reverent dispositions. Either the cremated remains or the body may be present for a funeral Mass. The Rite of Committal is performed at the columbarium following the Mass.

Why is a Columbarium appropriate to consider?

This is a growing trend. More people are choosing cremation than burial of the body. According to the National Funeral Directors' Association the use of cremation will increase to 70% of the burials by the year 2030. A niche in a Columbarium is unboastful, aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sound.

Who can be inurned in the Columbarium at St. Joseph?

Niche Licenses may be purchased by current or prior active members of St. Joseph Catholic Church and their immediate family members. Immediate family members can be described as spouses of such members; parents, siblings, and children.

Will there by any additional fees?

No. There are no maintenance fees. However, prices do not include fees for cremation or funeral expenses. You should contact either the St. Joseph Catholic Church administration, a funeral home or a cremation facility to contract these services.

Are niches available for purchase for pre-planning?

Yes. Preplanning is encouraged. Complete an application and pay for the niche and it will be there for you when needed.

Can I provide my own urn?

Yes, but it must be able to fit into a space that has an interior cavity measuring 11.5” x 11.5” x 11.5” and it must have a name plaque on it. If you intend to put two urns cube.

Will I own a niche?

No, the physical space belongs to St. Joseph Catholic Church. You will own a Certificate of Niche License. The license entitles you to perpetual use of the niche but NOT the right of ownership.

Can flowers or other forms of memorials be allowed in the Columbarium area?

No. Family and friends are encouraged to contact the office to offer floral arrangements or a monetary donation for flowers to be placed on the altar to honor their loved ones.

How do I purchase a niche?

You must complete an application. Applications are reviewed by the Pastor and Columbarium Committee.

What records will be maintained?

A computer software program will be maintained to identify the cremains in each niche as well as the sold niches and the niches available for sale. The program is regularly backed up.

What is inurnment? Interment?

Inurnment describes the placement of a person's ashes in a niche in a columbarium after cremation. Interment refers to the placement of a person's body in a casket in the ground or in a mausoleum.

Can memorabilia be placed in the niche with the urn?

Small items such as a rosary may be placed with the urn as space allows.

May the cremated remains of my pet be placed in the niche?


How do I make arrangements for cremation?

Arrangements for cremation are made through a funeral home or other places that provide cremation services.

How do I make arrangements for the funeral?

Your first contact should be with the office at St Joseph, who will set up a meeting time with the family that will also include the Music Director. Visit our Funerals page for more information and resources.

Are there other columbarium policy details that I can review?

Yes. St. Joseph Columbarium Policies and Procedures detail the specific terms for the columbarium.

Can you provide local cremation resources?

If you wish you may download a printable version of the information above in our Columbarium Brochure.

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