What is a columbarium? A columbarium is a sepulchre and holds the cremated remains (also called "cremains") of a deceased person in a consecrated area within the church or surrounding grounds. The word columbarium comes from Latin for "dove-cote" (the funereal place so called from resemblance).
In many parishes a columbarium is a collection of niches within the walls. In other parishes, such as St. Francis by the Lake, the columbarium is on the parish's grounds. Burial within a church or in the adjacent churchyard maintains the ancient tradition in Christianity of being buried from and in the Church.
The St. Francis by the Lake Columbarium St. Francis by the Lake's Garden Columbarium contains two variations. The original is a cubiform monolith of rose colored Texas marble measuring nearly 29 by 54 inches at the base. It is about 63 inches tall. It has 52 niches; and each niche can hold two urns. Each urn holds the ashes (cremains) of one individual. The cost of our urn is included in the price of a niche; no other container is needed or accepted. Each niche is engraved with the name of the deceased and their date of birth and death.
St. Francis by the Lake also has a beautiful "Garden of Eden," which consists of in-ground niches. These niches hold up to four urns per niche.
Our columbarium is in a wooded area just north of the Nave (our "worship center"). It is the final resting place for many, including parishioners and members of their family. As such, this garden offers a special place for prayer and contemplation, particularly when family and friends gather for worship and other parish events. The area surrounding the columbarium is landscaped and provides a sacred garden setting under sheltering oak trees. Perpetual care of these areas is provided as a stewardship ministry of St. Francis by the Lake.
What about Cremation? Cremation has a history among peoples throughout the world. It is practiced today by a majority of the world's populations, either by custom or law. Due to myriad social, cultural, and religious histories inherited and evolved through time, the practice of cremation has grown slowly in the United States. But as populations (especially in urban areas) have rapidly developed, burial space has become increasingly restricted. The early churchyard with a burial ground has given way to the funeral home industry's cemeteries that are distant from church and home. Even now, land shortages, land use restrictions, and health considerations are forestalling the industry's expansion of new cemeteries. Within Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church, cremation is approved and welcome. "When our mortal body lies in death, there is prepared for us a Dwelling Place Eternal..." (Book of Common Prayer, p. 382) We care for and have deep reverence for the marvelous vessel, made by God, which carried out the gift given at conception: Life. "For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord, and if we die, we die in the Lord. So, then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's possession." (Book of Common Prayer, p. 491)
Procedures for Cremation Before the time of death, arrangements for cremation should be made with a funeral home director who will advise family members on legal procedures. San Antonio's five crematories are located in cemeteries, not in mortuaries. State law now requires a properly drawn declaration by the individual stating his or her wishes for cremation. This document can be part of a will, or given to the individual(s) who will make final arrangements. If the declaration is not completed before death, approval for cremation will be required from the closest next of kin.
The Columbarium Trust The Columbarium Trust of St. Francis by the Lake is appointed by the Vestry. It manages funds for the columbarium and ensures its maintenance. A portion of the purchase price for each niche is reserved for perpetual care. The Trust has determined that no materials, other than our urn and the ashes therein, shall be placed inside a niche or vault. Also, no adornments (e.g., flowers--artificial or real, flags, or any other ornaments) shall be left at the columbarium or in the garden, except as provided by the parish.
St. Francis by the Lake Garden Columbarium vaults are available. For information about purchase, please call the parish office at 830 964-3820.
location: 121 Spring Mountain Drive
mailing address: P. O. Box 2031 Canyon Lake, TX 78133
Parish Phone: (830) 964-3820
Parish Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon