TRADITION

For over 200 years, the grounds of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral have been used as the final resting place for the faithful departed. The Basilica’s historic cemetery and underground catacombs have been a silent witness to the many struggles and accomplishments of prominent New York Catholics. It is where bishops rest beside noteworthy New Yorkers who have played important roles in New York, American, and Catholic history. Due to the lack of space, this practice was suspended.

A TRADITION REVIVED

In January 2013, the Basilica proudly revived the tradition of interring the deceased on Basilica property. We now offer you the unique and limited opportunity to reserve a place of eternal rest in Manhattan’s only Catholic cemetery.

OUR MISSION

The Basilica affirms the Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead by providing a sacred place of interment for cremated remains with pastoral care to family and friends.

YOUR BASILICA

The cornerstone of New York City’s first cathedral was set in place on June 8, 1809. For most of the nineteenth century, it served as the center of religious and social activity for the rapidly growing Catholic Church in America.

After the Archbishop’s cathedra (chair) was moved to Fifth Avenue at 51st Street, the old cathedral continued to serve an ever-changing population of people. Today it finds itself in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the City. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated the church to the status of Basilica in recognition of its noble past and as a center of worship, evangelization and education.

COLUMBARIA IN OUR HISTORIC CEMETERY

Each columbarium in our cemetery contains niches, which can accommodate one or two urns. In keeping with the teachings of the Catholic church, each urn containing the cremated remains will be reverently placed inside a niche, memorialized with a granite stone on which each individuals name will be meticulously engraved, and tended to by Basilica staff.

Our cemetery is an historic and solemn refuge for the faithful departed and comforting sanctuary for the bereaved. Over the next 18 months, in addition to a complete renovation we will be adding additional columbaria in both the north and south cemeteries

A treasured brick wall, designated a NYC Landmark in 1968, surrounds the entire cemetery providing serenity and solitude. The hallowed grounds of the cemetery are accessible by a private gate. A meandering stone pathway leads visitors to columbaria in a setting lined with graceful trees providing shade. Many of the surrounding headstones, combined with the catacombs beneath the nave of the church, date from the early 1800′s.

MINISTRY OF CARE

The Basilica staff is here for you when we need us. We never lose sight of our mission to provide care, comfort and consolation to all the bereaved.

NICHE FOR THE UNBORN

As Catholics, we believe that life begins at conception and if it ends prior to birth, the Basilica has reserved niches for the inurnment of unborn children. Please call us for more information.

CATHOLICS AND CREMATION

Over the past decade the number of Catholics, choosing to be cremated over traditional burial is increasing. The inurnment of cremated remains is an approved form of Christian burial by the Catholic Church. It is fundamental to traditional teaching on the care of the body that the deceased be properly interred in a sacred place where they await the general resurrection of the dead. Casting remains into sea or air are inappropriate, nor is it proper to keep them in one’s home. Burial or inurnment in a columbarium are the only acceptable ways to respect remains.
Click here for a one sheet on Catholics and cremation

COLUMBARIA IN OUR HISTORIC AND TREASURED CATACOMBS

With a planned unveiling in June 2015, the Columbaria in our historic and treasured catacombs will be located beneath the nave of the Basilica. Each columbarium will stand among the resting places of clergy, and prominent New Yorkers who been interred since the early 1800s such as:

BRIGADIER GENERAL THOMAS T. ECKERT

BRIGADIER GENERAL THOMAS T. ECKERT, confidant of President Abraham Lincoln whose vault still boasts original working Edison light bulbs.

THE DELMONICO FAMILY

THE DELMONICO FAMILY, proprietors of one of New York’s first fine dining establishments and hotels.

DOMINICK LYNCH SR

DOMINICK LYNCH SR., one of four signatories to the Letter of Congratulation from the Roman Catholic Community of America to the newly elected American President George Washington.

“HONEST JOHN” KELLY

“HONEST JOHN” KELLY, post-Tweed Ringleader of Tammany Hall, one-time City Sheriff and a member of the US House of Representatives.

MINISTRY OF CARE

The Basilica staff is here for you when we need us. We never lose sight of our mission to provide care, comfort and consolation to all the bereaved.

NICHE FOR THE UNBORN

As Catholics we believe that life begins at conception and if it ends prior to birth, the Basilica has reserved niches for the inurnment of unborn children. Please call us for more information.[/toggle]

CATHOLICS AND CREMATION

Over the past decade the number of Catholics, choosing to be cremated over traditional burial is increasing. The inurnment of cremated remains is an approved form of Christian burial by the Catholic Church. It is fundamental to traditional teaching on the care of the body that the deceased be properly interred in a sacred place where they await the general resurrection of the dead. Casting remains into sea or air are inappropriate, nor is it proper to keep them in one’s home. Burial or inurnment in a columbarium are the only acceptable ways to respect remains. Click here for a one sheet on Catholics and cremation { LINK TO CREMATION DOCUMENT}

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a columbarium?
What is a niche?
What is interment / inurnment?
Who can be interred at The Columbarium at The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral?
Why should I choose a niche at The Columbarium at The Basilica?
What will the niches look like?
May I request a desired niche location?
How do I determine the appropriate size and shape of an urn?
What funeral rites are celebrated when a person is cremated and interred?
Where will the Funeral Mass and memorial services be celebrated?
Whom should I contact for more information?

 

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a monument with niches for urns containing the cremated remains of the deceased.
The word is derived from the Latin word columba which means the dwelling place of a dove. This name
may have been chosen because of the resemblance of the burial niches to dovecotes. The dove also is a symbol of the Holy Spirit whose presence is associated with the resting place of the faithful departed. Click here to go back to questions.

What is a niche?

A niche is a space in a columbarium to be used for the interment of cremated remains. Click here to go back to questions. Click here to go back to questions.

What is interment / inurnment?

Interment and or inurnment describe the placement of a person’s remains in a niche within a
columbarium. Click here to go back to questions.

Who can be interred at The Columbarium at The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral?

The Columbarium at The Basilica is intended primarily but not exclusively for the cremated remains of
Roman Catholics. Click here to go back to questions.

Why should I choose a niche at The Columbarium at The Basilica?

The tradition of Christian burial is to inter the deceased in consecrated ground in close proximity
to a place of worship where their remains are safeguarded. The Basilica provides the only Catholic cemetery in Manhattan offering and a resting place in a holy, historic and beautiful setting. Click here to go back to questions.

May I request a desired niche location?

Yes. Yes. Niches are selected and assigned on a first-come basis and are reserved upon payment. Click here to go back to questions.

How do I determine the appropriate size and shape of an urn?

Each niche can accommodate one or two urns. We will provide you with the exact niche size so you can choose an urn that will perfectly. Click here to go back to questions.

What funeral rites are celebrated when a person is cremated and interred?

The funeral Mass may be celebrated in the presence of cremated remains. During the liturgy, the
cremated remains are given the same dignity and respect as the body. After the funeral rites, the
remains are placed in The Columbarium for interment. Click here to go back to questions.

Where will the Funeral Mass and memorial services be celebrated?

The funeral Mass can celebrated in the Basilica, one’s parish church or anywhere the family chooses. Click here to go back to questions.

How can I get more information?

Please contact the rectory office at 212-226-8075 extension 1008 or click on this link to request more information. Click here to go back to questions.