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placeholder Five decades
of leadership

Bishop Floyd Begin,
a bridge builder for all

Oakland diocese's
first parish celebrates
its jubilee, too

The first priest
of the diocese

Commitment to a demanding life

Bishop Begin:
Blessed beginning, blessed ending

Fond memories of Bishop Floyd L. Begin

'Where were you …'

Pastoral Council made diocese a leader in giving laity a voice

Interfaith good feeling, openness part of our diocesan heritage

Housing to rise at former cathedral site

At Cooper Chapel, building community, Catholic identity

'Community' crypts provide peace
of mind

Stewardship of the end-of-life

Institute aims to refute atheist influence in science

New film tells story of Cristero War


Catholic population at nearly 59 million in 2010

Religious freedom rally set for June 8

Fundraiser on May 26 for Haitian children

Visitation of the
Blessed Virgin:
What it means for us

50 years later, still answering Fatima questions

Magnificat Maternal Health: Mission to protect women in childbirth

Special collection
for Catholic Communication

Parishes lifeblood
of the diocese

placeholder May 21, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Inurnment in a Holy Angels Crypt can meet a family's needs. The one above is in the Mausoleum at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.

'Community' crypts provide peace of mind

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.

They are phone calls with awkward pauses. Counselors at Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services have come to recognize them and respond empathetically.

People almost embarrassed to say I have this …

You mean an urn?

Sometimes, they don't know who is in the urn.

Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services — CFCS — offers at no cost to anyone, of any faith, the dignified committal of cremated remains in a community crypt at any of its seven cemeteries or at the Cathedral of Christ the Light Mausoleum.

The Holy Angels Crypt program is "probably one of the most popular outreach, not only to the Catholic community, but to the community at large," said Eric Karleskind, family service counselor at the mausoleum at the cathedral.

"Nobody is refused space at a crypt of the Holy Angels," he said. The cremated remains are committed at no charge; the fee for the burial permit is paid by CFCS.

The committal in the community crypt can include a blessing from a priest, at the family's request. There is space remaining for hundreds of people.

The families gain some peace of mind. "I've seen great solace come over people," Karleskind said, "when they have a space to identify with that person."

The cremated remains can be disinterred from the crypt at no cost. Some families may have some indecision about a final resting place for a loved one; or one spouse has died before the other, and the family would prefer to inter them together at one time.

Cathedral of Christ the Light Mausoleum
2121 Harrison St., Oakland
Contact: Eric Karleskind, Family Service Counselor
Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services

Crypts: 1,300
Niches: 1,850

The Crypt of the Holy Angels can be a temporary resting place. "It is a way for us to safeguard the remains," he said.

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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