The Catholic Church teaches that the bodies of the dead must be treated with respect, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. The care of its members from birth and baptism through dying and death has always been accepted as a life-long responsibility of the Catholic Church.

In the past, body burial was the only option available to Catholics for fulfilling the corporal work of mercy, “to bury the dead”.  In 1963, the church approved cremation for Catholics who so choose.

Through the creation of the Columbarium and Memorial Garden, the Basilica of Saint Mary is living this responsibility by providing on its grounds a final earthly resting place for our deceased members and their loved ones. Sacred to the memory of those who have departed from our world, it will also be a place for visitation, meditation and prayer.

Columbarium & Memorial Garden

A columbarium is a permanent structure built as a place to house the cremated remains (cremains) of the deceased. It is often a room or a wall with small openings (niches) which have space for one (or two) small urns to hold the cremains of one (or two) people. Niches are securely sealed and identified after the cremains are placed into them.

The St. Mary Columbarium will be a walled garden area along the Ann Street side of the basilica. Garden walls will contain niches; each designed to hold two urns.  Memorial plaques will be placed on designated walls and throughout the gardens.

The St. Mary Memorial Garden and Columbarium is the property of the Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh.

All policies related to this space will be in harmony with the rules and regulations of the Diocese of Raleigh and with Canon Law as interpreted by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).