Chicago Catholic Archdiocese opens first cremation garden

CHICAGO — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has opened its first cremation garden.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the garden at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines was created because of the growing number of Catholics choosing to be cremated when they die.

The Vatican issued a decree last fall that ashes should be preserved in church-sanctioned sacred spaces, and not be kept in an urn or scattered. The new decree restates the Catholic church’s preference for whole-body burial over cremation because of its belief in the resurrection of the body.

The archdiocese’s landscaped oasis, which had its blessing ceremony July 10, is about a quarter of an acre and is located outside of a mausoleum.

Cremation was forbidden in the Catholic faith for centuries but became acceptable in 1963.