|May 21, 2012 • VOL. 50, NO. 9 • Oakland, CA|
MICHELE JURICH/THE CATHOLIC VOICE
'Community' crypts provide peace of mind
They are phone calls with awkward pauses. Counselors at Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services have come to recognize them and respond empathetically.
For a $1,000 tax-deductible donation, the name of a person can be inscribed on the cenotaph. (Inscription at one of the other cemeteries carries a $250 tax-deductible fee.)
Inscriptions are also available on the cenotaph for people whose remains are interred elsewhere, but whose families would like to remember them at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. "They can be remembered here," Karleskind said. "For some people, it means a lot to know they're remembered, somewhere on something," he said.
Inurnment in the Holy Angels Crypt can meet a family's needs. Karleskind recalled a woman who was arranging the funeral for her mother, who had told her to not spend much money on her funeral. The mother had chosen cremation. Her daughter tried to be true to her mother's wishes, avoiding even the cost of opening the double plot her mother had already owned. The Holy Angels crypt in one of the Catholic cemeteries provided her with the opportunity to fulfill her obligation to her mother's wishes.
"This was the best way to do it," Karleskind said.
At his office in the Cathedral Mausoleum, Karleskind does mostly preplanning, not a lot of at-need arrangements.
There have been about 100 interments since 2008. There is a fair market value assigned to each space in the mausoleum; the cost above that is a tax-deductible contribution to the diocese.
Preplanning can alleviate the burden for surviving spouse, Karleskind said. "They, themselves, can control the costs," he said. "At time of need, people can make emotional decisions that are not practical for the family.
"Even in the best of circumstances, it's hard," he said. "They're in total shock." There may be regrets later of what they might have arranged differently.
Additionally, it is a way to ensure that one's last wishes, including one for a Catholic funeral, are carried out.
With pre-planning, with 10 percent down, for example, CFCS can provide interest-free financing for 36 to 60 months.
Because the CFCS is a ministry of the Diocese of Oakland, proceeds from its service go back to support other ministries.
One way the proceeds are used to assist the poor is through the Mother Teresa Fund, which assists families of the poor, destitute and victims of violent crimes receive dignified funeral and cemetery services.
"Ours is a ministry of beginning the discussion, to help people through this journey we all have to face," Karleskind said.
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