June 9, 2021 at 5:05 p.m.



When talking about why Catholic families in the Diocese of Albany should pre-plan their final arrangements through Albany Diocesan Cemeteries, Tina Marzano recalls the story of a mother and her three grown children.

The mother wanted to plan her funeral, design her own marker and was quite specific about what section she wanted to be buried in and where — near the road — at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Niskayuna. She didn’t want to burden her children with these decisions. Sadly, the woman fell ill before she could make her arrangements final and, when she died, all the funeral arrangements were left up to her children, who all lived out of state.

“The oldest daughter said to me, ‘I know my mother already has a grave there. I know she was working with you. What is the next step?’ ” said Marzano, a Family Service Representative for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries. “And, I said, ‘I’m so sorry to tell you this but we discussed her interests and options, but the arrangements were never finalized.’ ”

What followed was a year-long discussion between the three siblings and Marzano — through email, Zoom calls and in-person meetings — over everything from the location of the plot to what type of marker their mother may have wanted. They were left to presume their mother’s wishes and to try to agree on difficult decisions during their time of grief.

This is not an uncommon story. When someone dies, their loved ones must make nearly 70 decisions regarding final arrangements almost immediately. But there is a better way — ahead of time and together.

“Now more than ever, we as a Catholic community have learned the true value and protection of planning ahead. Albany Diocesan Cemeteries can guide you through the three important steps — The Catholic Funeral Plan®, Cemetery Choices and Memorialization — that you can take now in planning your final arrangements to alleviate the burden on loved ones,” said Emily Simmons, Director of Sales for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries


“Central to our faith as Catholics is our belief in the journey of life, death and the Resurrection. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.’ (John 11:25),” adds Rick Touchette, Executive Director for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries. “We are reminded of this truth throughout our lives as Catholics and particularly in the Church’s funeral and burial rites and traditions. Planning for one’s own death is an expression of trust and acceptance of our Lord.”


The Catholic Funeral Plan® is a faith-based, pre-need program that allows Catholic families to plan and fund their funeral arrangements in advance. When a person enrolls in the plan, their funeral and merchandise preferences are recorded. This information will be available to the family and the funeral home of choice at the time of death. The Catholic Funeral Plan® guarantees that at the time of death, the funeral arrangements you have selected will be delivered in accordance with your wishes and with the liturgical traditions of the Church.

The Catholic Funeral Plan® preserves, promotes and protects important faith and liturgical traditions of the Church. The Plan provides a practical planning tool to ensure that the faithful will receive the funeral that they have desired, in the full faith and tradition of the Church.

“The whole CFP product, I love it,” said Marzano, who is also a Catholic Funeral Plan® Agent. “I’ve met with many families who have different interests — the wife wants to be cremated and the husband doesn’t and they chose two different sections of the cemetery to be interred in. Now would any of their kids know that? Expected it? No!”

When a person is enrolled in The Catholic Funeral Plan®, they select the funeral home of their choice and determine the arrangements that best suit them, at a price they feel is appropriate. The funeral home provides those arrangements at the time of death. The Catholic Funeral Plan® oversees the process so that arrangements are carried out as specified and in the Catholic tradition. The Catholic Funeral Plan® is funded by an insurance policy issued by Loyal Christian Benefit Association.

“Pre-planning is, without a doubt, a tremendous gift to give your family,” said J.D. Strong, Lead Family Service Representative for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries. “When a family experiences loss, people don’t know what to do or who to turn to. Organizing things in advance spares your family difficult decisions in an already stressful time.”


Albany Diocesan Cemeteries offers a variety of burial and cremation options including traditional burial, community and private mausoleums, urn gardens, family estate lots and more. A Family Service Representative can even help locate available options closest to your loved ones.

Cremation is permitted for Catholics and Church teaching insists that cremated remains should be treated with the same respect as the body. Albany Diocesan Cemeteries provides a range of options for the permanent interment and memorialization of cremated remains, including mausoleum niches, columbariums and urn gardens.

Due to the changing trends in funeral practices, some cemeteries now offer a natural or green burial preserve.

A natural burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact, returning the body naturally to the earth, “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19). Natural burial can appeal to environmentalists, those wishing for simpler funeral choices or as an alternative to cremation. Albany Diocesan Cemeteries offers two locations for natural burials: Kateri Meadow Natural Burial Preserve at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Niskayuna, and St. Michael’s Meadow Natural Burial Preserve at Calvary Cemetery in Glenmont.


The Catholic Monument Design Center serves all Catholic cemeteries within the 14 counties of the Diocese of Albany. Their expert staff will help you select and design a lasting legacy. As part of Albany Diocesan Cemeteries, they have over five decades of experience in helping families create markers and monuments. Each one is a custom design, tailored as an expression of love. From simple and elegant designs to the most elaborate and grand memorials, they have you covered with individualized design at a fair price.

There are also many customizable options for mausoleum crypts including portrait or icon medallions and memorial butterflies. The Catholic Monument Design Center can guide you through all your options.


Your family is everything. Planning ahead can save your loved ones from financial strain and difficult decisions while they are grieving.

“We at ADC are happy to answer any questions about our cemeteries or the pre-planning process,” Strong said. “We understand that talking about death is not comfortable but it’s our goal to make it as easy and stress free as possible.”

Contact Albany Diocesan Cemeteries today and let one of their Family Service Representatives guide you through these three important steps — The Catholic Funeral Plan®, Cemetery Choices and Memorialization — ahead of time and together.





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