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September, 2016

Catholic cemeteries share the primary goal of providing dignified burial places for the faithful departed. They must offer services and facilities in harmony with the teaching of the Church and show a degree of care that reflects the spiritual values inherent in the in the tradition of the Catholic burial.

Guidelines are designed for the express purpose of governing the activities for the mutual protection and benefit of lot holders and the cemetery as a whole. They are established with certain restrictions to ensure uniformity and control within the cemetery grounds.

These guidelines are not intended to be restraining, or all inclusive, but rather to define an orderly plan of operation, care and permanent maintenance. With this understanding in mind, the lot holder is requested to honor the following provisions.


  1. All the interments and removals are subject to the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, the rules and regulations of the Diocese of La Crosse, the State of Wisconsin, plus the rules and regulations of this cemetery. Religious ceremonies contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church will not be permitted within this cemetery.
  2. Only an authorized Roman Catholic cleric may officiate at the internment service (cremations included). Any other person to officiate at an internment service must have the approval of the St. Joseph Parish Pastor.


  1. Cost per lot: Parishioners $300, Former Parishioners $500, and Non-Parishioners $700. (A former parishioner is defined as an adult who was an envelope holder and for some reason(s) has moved from the parish. He/she may still have “some kind” of relationship with the parish. It should, however, be noted that young adults who used to belong here as young people/children with their parents and have moved away, who at the time of their moving were not envelope holders, are not considered as “former parishioners). One casket in an appropriate concrete vault and one cremation in a durable urn (buried on top of the casket) are allowed on one lot. Two cremations, again in durable urns, are allowed on one lot. All names of the deceased must be engraved on the monument.
  2. Certificate of Burial: will be issued to the individual/family that purchases a lot. The owner of this Certificate has the right or privilege of burial, but does not own the real estate. Only Catholics may purchase burial rights, but the owner may have members of his or her family (whether Catholic or non-Catholic) buried on the lot. The lot holder has title only to the burial rights on a given lot, but not to the land itself. The title to all cemetery land remains with the Diocese of La Crosse.
  3. Transfer of Certificate: Only the Parish has the right to sell, buy or transfer grave lots. Anyone wishing to give up their “Certificate,” should contact the Parish Office. A refund for the amount originally paid less the percentage invested in the Endowment fund will be made.
  4. Endowment Fund: a percentage of the cost of lots (as required by State law and Diocesan policy) is invested into an Endowment Care Fund to ensure future maintenance of the cemetery. Interest income that is generated by the Endowment Care Fund may be used for future cemetery maintenance with the principle remaining intact.
  5. Perpetual Care: The remaining money referred to as Cemetery Funds is used for Perpetual Care which includes removing excess dirt, filling with top soil, seeding of grass, mowing and trimming of grass and trimming of trees and shrubs on cemetery property (but not individual graves). Cemetery Funds may also be used for operation and development of the cemetery and improvements such as fencing, roadways, shrines, trees and shrubs.


  1. Discretion should be used as to the height of the monument and the width should not exceed the width of the lot(s).
  2. Monuments are the responsibility of the owner/family. They are not included in Perpetual Care.


  1. St. Joseph does not offer grave opening services for traditional burial. The director of the funeral services, selected on behalf of the families and/or friends of the deceased, will coordinate the grave openings with the cemetery’s approved Grave Contractor. St Joseph Parish accepts no liability for damages to property or personal injuries during the course of the grave opening; nor does it accept any responsibility for the quality of services or workmanship provided.
  2. Cremation urn grave openings must be performed by St. Joseph Parish personnel or the cemetery’s approved Grave Contractor in compliance with the St. Joseph Parish grave opening policy. Note: cremation urn grave opening by Parish personnel is not available when the ground is frozen.


St Joseph Cemetery has been blessed and considered a Sacred Place as a Catholic Cemetery. Any ornamentation on monuments and markers must be in keeping with the sacred character of the cemetery, in line with Christian Dignity and in good taste.

In order to secure the safety of visitors and staff, to prevent interference with routine maintenance and to prevent equipment damage, visitors are asked to abide by the following regulations:

  1. Please park in the church parking lot. Vehicles are not allowed on the cemetery access road or grounds except for the handicapped.
  2. Monuments are the personal property and responsibility of the family. Care of the monuments is the responsibility of the owner or family. It is not included in Perpetual Care.
  3. Artificial flowers, ornaments, foam and statues must be securely attached to the monument: in holders that clip onto the top of the monument, in urns located at the sides of the monument or in holes in the monument base. A four inch unobstructed area around the monument base is required.
  4. The following items are not permitted and will be removed and discarded: trees, shrubs, planted flowers, glass, pottery, metal or wooden items, wire tripods, bird feeders, lawn ornaments, stones, wood chips and vigil lights.
  5. Please do not discard decoration on church property.
  6. The VFW will assign an individual to display Veteran Flags in compliance with US Flag etiquette.
  7. Items that do not conform to rules will be removed.
  8. St Joseph Parish is not responsible for loss of or damage of any item placed on any lot.


In keeping with the mission of Catholic cemeteries a family in need will never be turned away from our Cemetery, even if financial hardship is imposed upon the cemetery. All pricing and rules will be subject to annual review by the Cemetery Committee and the Parish pastoral and Finance Council.

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