First Catholic crematorium opens in Sydney

Australia's first Catholic crematorium will open in suburban Sydney this Saturday with a Mass to be celebrated by Sydney Cardinal George Pell, who nevertheless said that burial still remains the "preferential" option.

The $7 million project includes a Catholic chapel and crematorium, condolence rooms and columbaria for placement of cremated remains, a Sydney archdiocese statement says.

According to the archdiocese, the Mary, Mother of Mercy Chapel and Crematorium at Rookwood cemetery will allow for the committal following Mass in the local parish church or for Mass and the committal to take place at the Crematorium.

Historically, cremation was forbidden for a long period by the Catholic Church as a response to promotion of the practice by anti-clerical movements that denied the resurrection of the body.

In 1963 Pope Paul VI lifted the ban after reviewing the matter in light of the prevailing social, economic and environmental conditions.

Reiterating Church teaching that the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect as the remains of a whole body, Cardinal Pell said that "just as the human body deserves to be treated with respect and dignity in life, so should it be treated in death.

"It is therefore appropriate that the Catholic Cemetery Trust at Rookwood which already provides for the preferential final disposition of a human body through burial or entombment, also provides for the relatively recent option of cremation within a purely Catholic context.

"I am therefore pleased with the development of the Mary, Mother of Mercy Chapel and Crematorium which represents a significant extension to the work of Catholic cemeteries in meeting this contemporary need within the Catholic community."

The Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood covers about 100ha and contains religious memorials of all periods since 1867, three operating chapels, a large modern mausoleum, significant areas of garden crypts, family vaults, lawn and monumental graves, columbaria and a monumental Stations of the Cross in a landscaped setting.

Australia's first Catholic Crematorium to Open (Media Release, Sydney Archdiocese, 14/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Cemeteries Board Sydney | Crematorium Complex
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
Strathfield History: Rookwood Necropolis

Approval given for first Australian Catholic crematorium (CathNews, 21/12/04)


15 Feb 2007