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.
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.
Single grave (flat marker) $965
Single grave (slant face monument) $1,260
2 Graves (upright monument) $2,520 ($1,260 each additional grave)
2 Graves (module lot/ St. Anne Section) $2,950 ($1,475 each additional grave)
2nd Easement for cremation $ 485 (Paid at time of interment) (In ground or in a casket in ground )
Double easement for two cremated remains in one vault $ 970 (Paid at time of interment)
2 Cremation graves (6 cremations/upright monument) $1,765 (no second easement fee)
Single crypt (outside wall) $5,145-$6,275
Double crypt (outside wall) $8,875-$11,730
Side by Side crypt (outside chapel wall) $11,065-$12,240
Single crypt (inside chapel wall) $5,225-$8,050
Double crypt (inside chapel wall) $9,895-$15,145
2nd Easement for cremation in a crypt 25% cost of crypt
Columbarium (Single) $1,985-$2,145
Columbarium (2 cremation in one niche) $2,960-$3,215
Open/Close grave $1,070 (Mon-Fri) $1,250 (Sat. & Holidays)
Open/Close grave-cremation $535 (Mon-Fri) $625 (Sat. & Holidays)
Cemetery cremation vault $175
Crypt Entombment $725 (Mon-Fri) $850 (Sat. & Holidays)
Niche Inurnment $475 (Mon-Fri) $550 (Sat. & Holidays)
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.
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.
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.
222 Pecks Road
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