Welcome to the St. Joseph Cemetery Website

 

Cemetery Info

Msgr. Michael Shershanovich - Director
Jay Meehan - Superintendent
Nancy Nolan - Office Manager
 
222 Pecks Rd.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Telephone 413 499-1317
Fax 413 499-2077
email: stjoecem@verizon.net
 
Cemetery Hours
May - Sept. 8:00am -8:00pm
Oct. - Apr. 8:00am - 4:00pm
Office Hours
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 3:30pm
 

Our Mission


Since 1853 St. Joseph Cemetery has been building a heritage rooted in faith and built on dignity, respect and caring service. Much of the history of our community can be traced through the generations of area residents buried within our boundaries. Between the lines of the names and dates found in our cemetery are the stories of those who came before us --- many of them our ancestors who pioneered this area and helped build our city and towns and opened the businesses that support our lives. We at St. Joseph Cemetery take pride in this heritage and in serving the needs of area Catholics and their families.

Cemetery Background

Cemetery History


The first St. Joseph Cemetery in Pittsfield was founded in 1846 on Melville Street next to the original St. Joseph Church building.  That cemetery quickly filled to capacity and in 1853 a large farm owned by the Hynes family was purchased on Pecks Road.  The present St. Joseph Cemetery was opened there and expanded with additional land purchases in 1869 and 1931 to bring the cemetery to its present size of 225 acres.

St. Joseph Church was the only Catholic Church in Pittsfield in 1853. But as immigration boomed in Pittsfield in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many new parishes were founded to meet the needs of the growing Catholic population.  St. Joseph Cemetery was there to meet the burial needs of all these parishes over the years and this tradition continues today.  The Cemetery has always been considered the property of the whole Catholic Community of Pittsfield and is overseen by a Cemetery Commission comprised of members from all four Pittsfield parishes. The Commission is responsible for long range planning to ensure the Cemetery meets the needs of area Catholics for many years to come. Members want to ensure the Cemetery maintains a beautiful appearance and that visits there are safe, peaceful and meaningful.

The daily operations of the cemetery are overseen by a Cemetery Superintendent and his staff. They work with bereaved families, sell burial plots, oversee burials and maintain the grounds, shrubs, trees and grave stones. A portion of the purchase price of each burial plot sold is placed in an endowment fund at the Diocese. Each year, interest earnings on this fund are returned to the cemetery to help cover operating costs. This fund helps guarantee perpetual care for the cemetery.

There are about 35,000 people buried in the cemetery. There were 254 burials in 2016. Of these, 154 were full body burials and 100, or 40%, were cremation burials. In 2010, there were 192 full body burials and 75 cremation burials. The increased number of cremations follows the national trend among Catholics and the general population.

   

Cemetery Commission


  • Msgr. Michael Shershanovich, Cemetery Director
  • Jack Laviolette, Chair - St. Joseph
  • Peter Lafayette - St. Joseph
  • Nelson Furlano, CPA, Treasurer
  • Pastor – St. Charles
  • Chet Zaorski - St. Charles
  • Rev. Christopher Fedoryshyn – St. Mark
  • Chet Potash – St. Mark
  • Rev. Michael Bernier – Sacred Heart
  • Paul Wendling - Sacred Heart
  • Joseph Kostek - Superintendent of Diocesan Cemeteries
  • Russell Sprague – Director, Diocesan Buildings and Grounds

ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL CHAPEL MAUSOLEUM

In response to the growing demand for above-ground burial space and a desire to provide for chapel services, St. Joseph Cemetery built a chapel mausoleum at the cemetery. Named in honor of St. Michael the Archangel, this beautiful facility has been designed not only to be an enduring monument to those who have passed, but also to be a peaceful and serene sanctuary for the grieving.

The mausoleum is constructed of reinforced concrete with beautiful granite facades. Its unique three-core design features a central chapel which provides a sheltered environment for committal services and visitation. Religiously significant murals lend to the peaceful and serene atmosphere where visitors are encouraged to linger in private prayer and meditation.

St. Michael the Archangel Chapel Mausoleum provides limited numbers of entombment crypts in both interior chapel and exterior locations. Cremation niches are also provided for the inurnment of cremated remains.

Cemetery Staff

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Msgr. Shershanovich

Director

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Jay Meehan

Superintendent

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Nancy Nolan

Secretary

Cemetery Regulations

  • THESE REGULATIONS WERE DEVELOPED OVER TIME TO HELP ENSURE THE BEAUTY AND PROPER MAINTENANCE OF THE CEMETERY. WHILE LIVE FLOWERS AND PLANTS AND VARIOUS TYPES OF DECORATIONS HAVE BEEN ALLOWED IN THE PAST, UNFORTUNATELY THEY ARE OFTEN NOT MAINTAINED BY THE FAMILY. THIS GAVE THE CEMETERY A NEGLECTED APPEARANCE AND IMPOSSIBLE TO MAINTAIN PROPERLY.

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  • CEMETERY GATES ARE OPEN FROM 8:00AM-8:00PM, MAY-SEPTEMBER
    AND FROM 8:00AM-4:00PM, OCTOBER-APRIL

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  • NO PLANTING OF FLOWERS TREES OR SHRUBS. PRESENT SHRUBS MUST BE MAINTAINED BY LOT HOLDERS.

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  • NO ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS DURING THE SPRING AND SUMMER MONTHS.

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  • NO WOODEN CROSSES OR TEMPORARY MARKERS OF ANY KIND. ONLY CROSSES PLACED BY THE CEMETERY ARE ALLOWED.

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  • NO VIGIL LIGHTS, SOLAR LIGHTS, SHEPHERD HOOKS, STATUES, GLASS CONTAINERS OR LOT ENCLOSURES OF ANY KIND.

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  • TWO MOVABLE, PLAIN CONTAINERS OF LIVE FLOWERS WILL BE ALLOWED FROM MOTHER’S DAY TO LABOR DAY. CONTAINERS WITH PRONGS ON THE BOTTOM OR GLASS CONTAINERS ARE NOT ALLOWED.

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  • WINTER DECORATIONS MAY BE PLACED ON LOTS FROM NOVEMBER 1ST TO APRIL 1ST. ONLY ONE WREATH OR FLOWER BOX PER LOT.

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  • NO DECORATIONS ARE ALLOWED BETWEEN APRIL 1ST AND MOTHER’S DAY OR FROM LABOR DAY UNTIL NOVEMBER 1ST.

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  • THE CEMETERY ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO FLOWER POTS OR OTHER CONTAINERS AND MAINTAINS THE RIGHT TO DISPOSE OF BROKEN OR UNSIGHTLY CONTAINERS AT ANY TIME.

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  • DECORATIONS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT THE MAUSOLEUM. NOTHING MAY BE GLUED, MOUNTED, TAPED OR IN ANY WAY AFFIXED TO A CRYPT OR NICHE FRONT, NAME PLAQUE OR ANY PART OF THE WALLS. ANYTHING SO MOUNTED WILL BE REMOVED AND DISPOSED OF IMMEDIATELY.


Cemetery Maps

Click to Enlarge

Capital Campaign

St. Joseph Cemetery has undertaken a capital campaign that will raise funds to help correct the serious drainage and road problems that plague the cemetery grounds in certain areas, especially the upper section. These areas are subject to flooding and icing and often cause problems during burials and visits in the winter and spring. While patching is done to lessen the problems, there is simply not enough money in the annual operating budget to carry out the needed work.

 

Sections of the upper section of the cemetery have serious drainage issues. The soil consists largely of clay and glacial till soil which does not absorb large amounts of rain. Part of the area also has a high water table due to underground springs. The result is when heavy rains occur or snow melts, the water that is not absorbed in the ground, flows down and sits on the roads. These roads then freeze and break down, similar to the potholes that occur in city streets each year. Since there has not been enough money to patch all the roads each year, they’ve simply deteriorated over the years and now need replacement.

 

 

Work to Be Done


Phase 1 will include the installation of subsurface drains in select areas to help dry out wet areas within the cemetery. These pipes will connect to the existing catch basins that already manage the surface water runoff. Along with this work will be modification to catch basins that have not already been repaired. The grates on top of the catch basins will be lowered with the roadway patched to ensure surface water is directed off the roadways consistent with work completed in 2016 and 2017. Significant improvements were seen in the area of that work.


Phase 2 – Currently the intersection of the main road leading from the lower portion of the cemetery to the new portion of the cemetery is an area where water continues to accumulate as well as areas to the West of the main intersection. This phase will work to reconstruct the road to shed the water in all directions away from this intersection. This work will not only improve the roadway surface but will ensure the water is directed away and not allowed to collect in the intersection. The standing water along with freezing and thawing has contributed to the rapid deterioration in this location. Reconstruction of this intersection will allow water to sheet to the East, West and South. This work along with cleaning of drainage channels in the fall of 2018 will help preserve the reconstruction of the intersection.


Phase 3 – The final phase will call for the reconstruction and repaving of the existing deteriorated paved roads. This work will be completed as funds become available through the Campaign or other sources. The main roads will be paved first followed by the smaller side roads. Existing gravel roads will be re-graded as needed.




Work Phases

Click to Enlarge




 

FAQs


Q. Who oversees the operations of the cemetery?

The operations and finances of the cemetery are overseen by the Cemetery Commission comprised of the four Pittsfield pastors and lay representatives from each parish.


Q. Why doesn’t the cemetery’s operating budget cover these major repairs?

The cemetery functions on a very tight budget and faces declining income and rising expenses. It has an annual operating budget of about $450,000. It also has a perpetual care endowment fund of about $3 million. Dividends from the endowment fund go into the cemetery’s operating budget to help cover operating costs. Any surplus funds are used to fix the worst drainage problems and road patching. But there is not enough surplus in the budget to pay for the major repairs needed.


Q. Why is a capital campaign needed now?

Despite patching over the years, the drainage and road problems are getting worse, often causing real issues at burials and when visiting. A significant investment is needed to fix the problems and to bring the drainage and roads up to current construction standards. Since there are not enough funds in the budget, a special campaign is needed, much like our local parishes have done in the past to cover extraordinary costs like the building of a parish center (St. Joseph’s), installation of an elevator, new restrooms, painting and facility upgrades (St. Charles), painting and handicapped accessibility improvements (Sacred Heart and St. Mark).




Q. What is the total estimated cost of the project and is a professional overseeing the planning?

White Engineering of Pittsfield will prepare the bid documents for the proposed improvements, and inspect the work as it proceeds. The total estimated cost of the project is $1,800,000. This campaign hopes to raise $1,200,000. The balance will be paid for over a period of time with surplus operating funds and other donations being sought.


Q. When will the drainage and road work be started?

Work will begin in 2019 and carried out as funds become available from the campaign.


Q. What if I never make pledges?

That would be unusual in today’s credit society. Most people take advantage of time-payments to purchase homes, cars or any major item. A pledge to this campaign should be considered a “time-payment plan” that makes it possible for you to meet your parish obligations without undue hardship. Pledges enable you to consider a more significant contribution than any one-time gift. Our campaign will not succeed without sacrificial pledges.

Q. Is my pledge over and above my weekly offertory?

Yes. The parishes have normal operating expenses that will continue. The extraordinary needs of this campaign will require extraordinary giving.


Q. What happens if I cannot fulfill my pledge commitment?

Pledges are good faith intentions and not legally binding. They can be re-structured, put on hold or canceled as circumstances warrant. Your children do not “inherit’ your pledge.


Q. Can I give something other than money?

Yes. You can give appreciated securities, such as stocks and bonds. These are wonderful options because they have important tax advantages for the donor.


Q. Who is directing our campaign?

Cunneen, a Division of Cathedral Corporation. Consultant John Cunneen will be counseling our efforts throughout our campaign. The Cunneen Company has raised more than 3.5 billion dollars for Catholic parishes over the past 37 years.

 

 

Pledge Payments


You will receive reminder notices in accordance with the payment plan you select.

 

 

Please make checks payable to:

St. Joseph’s Cemetery Capital Campaign


and mail to:

222 Pecks Road, Pittsfield, MA 01201

 

 

All gifts are tax deductible as provided by law. You will be provided with an end-of-year statement of your actual cash contributions for each year.

 

The Suggested Giving Plans encourage financial commitments over a three- or five-year period. The pledge card provides space for you to designate payment intervals: monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Payment reminders will be sent in accordance with the schedule selected. We ask you to keep in mind that it will take gifts at these levels to reach our goal. Pledges enable you to consider a more significant contribution to the campaign rather than a one-time gift.

Locate Us

Contact

Email:

stjoecem@verizon.net

Address:

222 Pecks Road

Pittsfield, MA

01201



Phone:

413 499-1317

© 2018 St. Joseph Cemetery. All rights reserved.