In recognition of a growing interest in “Green Burials,” the Catholic Cemetery Association of Racine (Racine Catholic Cemeteries) is opening an area for Green Burials called St. Francis Meadow. The purpose of a Green Burial is to allow a body to quickly and naturally return to the elements of the earth and begin the regeneration of new life. A dedication ceremony will be at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2. Fr. Antony Primal Thomas, pastor of St. Edward, St. Patrick and St. Richard parishes, will conduct the ceremony.

Pat McLeod, president of the Catholic Cemetery Association board, announced the opening of the area, saying, “Green Burial is increasingly attractive to persons of all faith, especially those who feel a special responsibility to avoid unnecessary harm to the environment. We believe that the time is right for us to offer Green Burial to our community, and we believe that we are the first cemetery in Racine County to do so.”

St. Francis Meadow is located in the southwest portion of Holy Cross Cemetery in Caledonia. Because that area is part of a larger facility that accommodates non-green burials, as well as mausoleum spaces, it will be considered a hybrid cemetery. Nonetheless, in St. Francis Meadow, the fundamental principles of Green Burial will apply.

Those include no embalming with formaldehyde or other unsafe chemicals; no concrete or metal burial vault; only a biodegradable casket, shroud or other container; and a more natural landscaping, using prairie grasses and wildflowers.

The Catholic Cemetery Association of Racine is owned by all of the Racine Catholic parishes. It welcomes families, regardless of faith, in any of its cemeteries or mausoleums. People interested in the new Green Burial opportunity or any of the other Racine Catholic Cemeteries should call the main office at 262-639-1071 or make an appointment to visit the office at Holy Cross Cemetery, 5600 Holy Cross Road.