Our Lady of Fatima Parish

Saint Mary's Cemetery Regulations



            For the mutual protection and benefit of plot/crypt/niche holders at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hanover Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, the Board of Directors of St. Mary’s Cemetery Association hereby adopts the following rules and regulations.  All plot/crypt/niche holders and persons within the cemetery or business or other purposes are subject to the said rules and regulations as amended from time to time.



            St. Mary’s Cemetery provides for the interment of the faithful departed according to the Canon Law of the Catholic Church.  Questions regarding the interpretation of Canon Law, The Order of Christian Funerals or rules and discipline of the Catholic Church which govern burial privileges of a lot/crypt/niche owner and members of his or her family, shall be decided finally by the Administrator (“Administrator”) of St. Mary’s Cemetery.


            According to the rules and discipline of the Catholic Church, members of other Christian churches or denominations may purchase interment rights at St. Mary’s Cemetery and be interred, provided they are a Baptized Christian and the legitimate spouse of a Catholic.  Interments of a non-Catholic spouse shall be subject to approval of the Administrator.




  2. Interment fee includes opening and closing of the grave/crypt/niche, during normal burial hours as established from time to time.  Interments occurring after normal burial hours will incur additional charges as established by the Administrator.  Exceptions to holding services at the discretion of the Cemetery Administration (“Administration”).


  1. All funerals upon entering the cemetery shall be under the exclusive charge and direction of the Administration.


  1. A burial permit for each funeral, as required by appropriate government authority, must be presented to the Administration before interment is complete.


  1. There is no charge for the burial of infants under the age of two, fetuses, or limbs.


  1. The right of interment at St. Mary’s Cemetery grants the lot/crypt/niche holder the privilege of interment in the particular deeded space. It is not a conveyance of ownership, tenancy or other interest in the grave/crypt/niche to which it refers.  The use of a plot/crypt/niche is for the holder or his/her relatives for interment only and not for resale or profit.  Interments must be authorized by the holder or next of kin, unless there are written instructions to the contrary on file in the cemetery office, but in no case shall a holder have the right to sell, transfer, exchange or otherwise dispose of said plot/crypt/niche, any part thereof or interest therein without written permission of the Administrator.  If for any reason a plot/crypt/niche is returned to St Mary’s Cemetery, a refund will be based on 75% of the original price, provided that the original deed is returned.
  2. Double depth burials are not permitted in St. Mary’s Cemetery.


  1. The Administration shall not be responsible for any order which results in a mistake occurring from incomplete or erroneous instructions from the holder, his/her family or their agents.  The Administration reserves the right to impose equitable charges whenever additional costs result from such mistakes.


  1.  The Administration reserves and shall have the right to correct errors that may be made in making interments, disinterments or removals; in the description, transfer or conveyance of any interment privilege, either by canceling such conveyance or submitting in lieu thereof other interment rights of equal value and similar location, or in the sole discretion of the management by refunding the amount paid on account of said purchases.


  1.     In the event an error shall involve the interment of the remains of any person in such property, the Administration reserves and shall have the right to remove or transfer such remains so interred to such other property of equal value and similar locations.


  1. The Administration shall not be liable to any delay in the interment of a body where a protest to the interment has been made, or where the rules and regulations have not been complied with, or where said rules and regulations forbid or allow prohibition of such interment; and the Administration may, at its discretion, place the body in a receiving vault until full rights have been determined. The Administration may require objections to be in writing and filed in the cemetery office.


  1. a) No body interred in St. Mary’s Cemetery shall be disinterred and removed without written permission of the Administrator and the Bishop of Scranton or his authorized representative.


  1. b) Disinterment from St. Mary’s Cemetery must have written approval of the lot or crypt owner or the next of kin. Administration shall have the right to designate the hour and manner in which interments, disinterments and removals will be permitted.  All interments, disinterments, and removals shall be subject to payment of charges fixed by the Administration.  All interments and removals are subject to the orders and laws of proper civil authorities.



  1. Although cremation is now permitted pursuant to the Code of Canon Law, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased.  Cremated remains to be interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery shall be placed up to two (2) in any unused grave or one (1) over an immediate family member or in a niche.



Each burial shall be permitted only after a reinforced vault is purchased and installed.  Each interment of cremated remains within a grave or niche shall be in a sealed urn or other container as approved by the Administration.


  2. Regulations
  3. a) Under all circumstances, the Administration reserves the right at all times to approve and prescribe the kind, size, design, craftsmanship, quality and materials of stone work to be placed in the Cemetery.


  1. b) Monument dealers shall abide by the rules and regulations of the Cemetery.


  1. c) Administration has the authority to reject any plan or design for a monument /marker which on account of size, design inscription, kind of quality of stone or other reason is adjudged to be undesirable in the Cemetery or unsuited to the lot for which it is proposed.


  1. d) To avoid expensive mistakes, the Administration must be consulted sufficiently in advance of any contemplated work. Delays in installation occasioned by the failure to obtain prior approval shall not be the responsibility of the Cemetery.


  1. e) No monument/marker construction shall be started until a sketch showing the design and dimensions in scale, including inscription and/or ornamentation, exactly as it is to appear on the finished work, has been submitted to and approved by the Administration.


  1. f) No monument/marker shall be placed in or removed from the Cemetery unless a written order of the holder is presented at the Cemetery Office and permission is issued by the Administration.


  1. Quality
  2. a) All monuments and markers must be of high quality granite, free of stains or imperfections.


  1. b) All stonework which, in the opinion of the Cemetery Administration, shows inferior workmanship, evidence of doctoring, improper alignment, or other defects of material, construction or design, will not be permitted to be placed or to remain in the Cemetery.


  1. c) If a monument/marker or ornamentation becomes broken, dilapidated or unsightly, it may be removed by the Administration.


  1. Restrictions
  2. a) A monument is allowed on a lot of four graves or more, except in sections especially arranged for smaller lots, in which event, Administration shall determine the maximum number of monuments allowable.


  1. b) Monuments may be erected only when the total cost of the associated graves has been paid in full.


  1. Design
  2. a) A monument is to be designed with reference to the size of the lot on which it is to be placed, consideration being given to the number, size and character of other monuments standing near it. The design is subject to the approval of the Administration as provided in Section C.1. of these rules.


  1. b) All monuments and markers shall be Christian in design and character as determined by the Administration.


  1. c) All monuments shall be set so that the main inscription shall face the front of the lot.


  1. d) The family name inscribed on the monument shall be placed on the front only, except in double row lots where graves in front of and to the rear of the monument form one lot.


  1. e) Where two branches of a family, or friends, have lots of the same size, adjoining back to back, one monument may be erected between such lots with the proper name of inscription facing each lot.


  1. f) The location of a monument on any lot shall be determined by the Administration.


  1. g) Personal mausoleums can only be erected in an area designated by the cemetery Administration.


  1. h) Any monument consisting of more than two (2) tiers, must be pinned.


  1. Size
  2. a) The size and shape of the monument shall be subject to the approval of the Administration.


  1. b) The maximum face area of the monument, (height x width including base) shall not exceed fifteen percent ( 15%) of the area of the lot surface.


  1. c) The width of the monument shall not exceed one-half (50%) of the width of the lot.


  1. d) The height of the monument shall not exceed forty percent (40%) of the depth (distance front to rear) of the lot. A sculptured cross design may extent sixty percent (60%).


  1. e) The base of the monument shall not encroach upon the space allowed for interments.


  1. Foundations
  2. a) A foundation of concrete is required for every monument to be placed in the cemetery.


  1. b) All foundations shall be constructed by the cemetery at the expense of the lot holder.


  1. c) Foundations will not be constructed during freezing weather, and in no event, during the thirty days prior to Memorial Day.
  2. d) Foundations must be paid for when the monument design is approved by the Administration.


  1. e) No heavy stonework shall be set until approved by the Administration.


  1. f) The use of spalls between the base stone and the foundation, or the removal of any part of the foundation to accommodate irregularities or other defective workmanship in the base stone is not permitted.


  1. Contractors and Workers
  2. a) All construction work and workers within the Cemetery shall be subject to the authority of the Administration


  1. b) Monument dealers, contractors and burial vault companies shall be responsible for the conduct of their employees and for any damage done by them within the Cemetery.


  1. c) All contract workers must enter and leave the Cemetery within the working hours of Cemetery employees or such other hours as established by the Administration.


  1. d) In order to protect the lawns from damage, planks must be laid whenever heavy materials are to be moved.


  1. e) Persons engaged in erecting vaults, monuments or other structures are prohibited or other structures are prohibited from attaching ropes to trees, stones or other objects without permission from the Administration.


  1. f) All work of a noisy or distracting nature, as determined by the Administration, shall be suspended while committal services are being conducted in the immediate vicinity.


  1. Grave Markers
  2. a) The term “marker” shall signify a flat stone, the top surface of which shall lie on even grade or flush with the level ground. Slants, pillows or beveled markers can only be used in designated cemetery sections.  Markers may be placed only after all related costs have been paid in full.  Symbols used on grave markers and monuments, shall be Christian in character.


  1. b) A flat marker may be used to identify any grave in the Cemetery.


  1. c) Markers ordered from internet comapnies will not be accepted into the cemetery.   (Rev. 4/2021)


  1. d) All grave markers must be of high quality granite or bronze, as specified, depending upon the section of the Cemetery where the grave is situated.


  1. e) All lettering, inscriptions, or ornamentation shall be cut into the stone.


  1. f) All markers will be set by the Cemetery at a fixed charge.


  1. g) Markers on single graves shall not exceed 24 inches by 12 inches.


  1. h) Double markers, on double graves, shall not exceed 36 inches by 12 inches.


  1. i) Applications for government markers must be signed by the Administration, at which time the installation charge is payable to the Cemetery.


  1. j) Polished flat markers are prohibited in the cemetery.




  1. Lettering
  2. a) Crypt lettering shall be arranged by the individual with the monument company of his/her choice.


  1. b) Symbols used on mausoleums shall be Christian in character. Before any symbols are used on mausoleums, the exact design must be submitted to and approved in writing by the Administrator or his designee.


  1. Decorations
  2. a) Floral decorations on crypt fronts and along the walkways leading to the crypts, are prohibited except on Memorial Day and All Souls Day. Any permitted floral decorations will be removed at the convenience of the Cemetery. 


  1. b) No other ornamentation, decorations, memorabilia, or other similar items shall be permitted and such items shall be removed by the Administration without prior notice to holders, next-of-kin, or others who leave such items.


  1. c) The limitations herein reserve to the Cemetery Administration the authority to maintain an appropriate setting and atmosphere at the Cemetery as determined by the Administration.


  1. d) All decorative flags and shepherds poles are prohibited.



  2. All grading, landscaping and planting of trees, shrubs, bushes or evergreens shall be at the sole discretion of the Cemetery Administration and pursuant of its plan.


  1. Except as provided in subpart 6 in this section, the planting of flowers is permitted only in the area extending one foot in front of a monument and extending the width of the monument. No planting is allowed to the side of a monument.  No planting of flowers is allowed around flat markers.  Planting on any lot shall not encroach upon or in any way interfere with any adjoining lot.


  1. No planting of shrubs, bushes, evergreens or trees is permitted anywhere in the Cemetery.


  1. Plantings whether in place at the time of adoption of these rules and regulations or planted thereafter which, in the opinion of the Cemetery Administration, become unsightly or uncontrollable, or otherwise undesirable, may be removed by the Administration. The Administration is not obligated to trim bushes or flowers.  The Administration is not obligated to provide notice that plantings will be removed or trimmed.


  1. No crushed decorative stones, pebbles, shells or similar materials shall be placed on or around monuments or markers.


  1. One arrangement of artificial or silk flowers is allowed from November 1st until March 1st on any one grave or crypt. Such placements are reviewable by the Administration and may be removed.


  1. Edging of any kind is prohibited in the    cemetery.


  2. Urns or other such obstructions may not be erected on any lot.  Where such obstructions exist, they will be removed and disposed of by Cemetery personnel without prior notice.


  1. Vigil Lights are allowed from November 1st to November 30th.  After this date, they will be removed by Cemetery personnel.  The Cemetery is not responsible for breakage, theft, loss or disposal.



Baskets or other flower holders on graves shall not be affixed by use of nails, or wire to support the holder.  No other anchoring method which could cause damage to power equipment for lawn maintenance shall be used.  Such decorations may be removed at the discretion of the Administration.




The care of graves:  leveling, planting, mowing, is the exclusive right and duty of Cemetery personnel.  No right is granted to owners to engage in any work in the Cemetery.





The following is a listing of the passage of a plot/crypt/niche holder’s interest in the event of the death of a holder.  In the event of a holder’s death, any and all privileges of the holder shall pass to the holder’s family as follows:

  1. The spouse of a holder of any plot/crypt/niche which contains more than one interment space, has a vested right of interment of his/her remains in the space except as otherwise limited herein.


  1. If the holder has filed written instructions at the Cemetery Office concerning family succession, said instructions shall be recognized by the Administrator and will be followed.  If, solely in his judgment, the instructions are definite, reasonable and practical, subject however to the vested right of the surviving spouse.


  1. If the holder dies without written instruction as provided above, but the holder has left a Will which specifically bequeaths the lot, and which is duly admitted to probate and satisfactorily proven to the Administrator, and provided that the instructions do not conflict with the Cemetery’s rules and regulations, title passes to the specified legatee.


  1. If the holder dies without a Will or dies with a Will and the interment privilege is not the subject of a specific bequest, title passes in accordance with the intestacy laws of the Commonwealth.


  1. Each holder has the right to be interred within the area covered by the deed, on a first come first served basis.


  2. Motor Vehicles

                        Motor Vehicles are permitted only on the paved roadways within the Cemetery and must be kept off the grass.  No motor vehicle may be parked on any road or driveway within the Cemetery at such location or position as to prevent any vehicles from passing.  Unattended vehicles should be locked.  The Cemetery is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.


  1. Pets

                        Pets are not allowed on Cemetery grounds at any time.


  1. Visitors
  2. a) The Cemetery is open for visitation only during such hours set from time to time by the Administration.


  1. The Administration reserves the right to refuse admission to, or to expel from the Cemetery at any time, any person, as the rules of the Cemetery dictate or suggest in the exercise of its judgment.


  1. c) Children under the age of sixteen (16) are not permitted in the Cemetery unless accompanied by a responsible adult.


  1. d) The Administration reserves the right to forbid and prevent assemblages at the Cemetery which it deems improper.


  1. e) No peddling or soliciting shall occur within the Cemetery.


  1. Hours of Operation
  2. a) The Administration shall fix the opening and closing hours of the Cemetery, Cemetery Office and buildings.


  1. Miscellaneous
  2. a) The Administration reserves the right to make exceptions to, to suspend or modify any of these rules or regulations when deemed advisable, but such exceptions, modification or suspension shall in no way affect the general application of these rules and regulations.


  1. b) In all matters not specifically covered by these rules and regulations, the Administration reserves the right to do anything which it deems reasonable under the circumstances and such determinations shall be binding.


  1. c) The Administration reserves the right at any time and from time to time to change, amend, alter, repeal, rescind, or add to these rules and regulations or any part thereof, or to adopt any new rule or regulation.