Eternum Columbarium and the stunning Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Ennis, Co. Clare have established a partnership to install a wall of niches for cremated remains in the former Mortuary Chapel. A columbarium in a church echoes the ancient Christian tradition of churchyard burial and offers people the opportunity to be buried in a beautiful building at the centre of their faith.
Many people are now choosing cremation for various reasons, but the shortage of burial space in Ireland is prompting a surge. In 2012, St Patrick’s church in Belfast opened its columbarium in response to the lack of burial space in the city. It provided people with a beautiful space to inter the ashes of their loved ones and meant that visiting their resting place became a part of weekly Mass.
Fr Tom Ryan, Parish Priest of the cathedral said: ““As a parish, we welcome this opportunity to offer this facility to the community. It is a privilege to provide a sacred place of memory to people grieving the loss of someone they love”
The Catholic Church permits cremation but has strict rules about what happens to the ashes afterwards. Catholic’s cannot have their ashes scattered, kept at home or made into keepsakes like jewellery. This is where a columbarium offers people a sacred and beautiful place to inter cremated remains.
Each niche will be sold with a 50 year lease which offers flexibility to both the cathedral and the families of the people interred there. At the end of the term there will be the option to renew the lease or the ashes can be reclaimed and buried elsewhere. If the family of anyone interred in the columbarium cannot be contacted, then Eternum will bury the ashes in a grave marked with their details. Both the Diocese of Killaloe and Eternum are committed to the reverend and proper burial of any ashes if they need to be moved from the columbarium.
The partnership with Eternum means that the cathedral does not have to raise the money to finance the columbarium or commit time and effort to running it – all of this will be taken care of by Eternum who work very closely with Fr. Tom.
Joseph O’Neill from Eternum said “I am very excited to be working with the cathedral in Ennis. SS Peter and Paul will be the first cathedral in Ireland to have a columbarium like this and it will offer the people of Ennis a beautiful and spiritual space for burial.”