New Jersey Natural Burials and Green Funerals

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For those who live an environmentally sustainable life and prefer to leave the earth that way as well, a green funeral or natural burial may be the answer.

Maryrest entrance

This is the first Natural Burial /Green Funeral section in North Jersey. The topography of the land is a slight natural amphitheatre overlooking the woods and is the perfect setting.

Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, NJ, one of ten Catholic Cemeteries owned by the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, has had its first interment in a new section of the cemetery dedicated entirely to Natural Burials / Green Funerals. It is believed that this is the first Archdiocesan cemetery in the state, perhaps in the country, that has an entire area reserved for the eco-friendly burial consumer.

According to Andrew P. Schafer, Executive Director of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Newark Archdiocese (http://www.rcan.org) the development of this site is in response to consumer requests and is part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation and expansion of Maryrest. While the plans called for the area to be opened later in the Fall, Mr. Schafer explains that on January 8, 2010 he received a call from Funeral Director Robert Prout (http://www.proutfuneralhome.com) about a family that he was working with from Bergen County that really wanted to embrace a more natural funeral service for their Dad, who had died the previous evening.

After meeting with Mr. Prout & the family on-site, Mr. Schafer was determined to assist this family, and despite the cold weather, had a section of the area ready for the natural burial service.

In keeping with green burial practices, this area of Maryrest will not allow concrete vaults or manufactured headstones. They will accept the deceased wrapped in a shroud or a sustainable / biodegradable casket, and if embalming is needed for ceremonial purposes, it must be with a non-toxic, formaldehyde free solution.
Marking of the graves will be with native stone set flat in the ground.

Mr. Prout, a nationally recognized speaker on Natural Burials and Green Funeral Practices, gives a lot of credit to Mr. Schafer and the Archdiocese for including an entire area of the cemetery for green funerals in the renovation plans. “This is the first Natural Burial /Green Funeral section in North Jersey. The topography of the land is a slight natural amphitheatre overlooking the woods and is the perfect setting.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Schafer is eagerly awaiting warm spring weather, when the site can be finish graded and native shrubs, grasses and wildflowers will be planted.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Schafer (973)497-7981 ASchafer(at)RCAN(dot)org or http://www.rcan.org

Robert Prout (973) 239-2060 rjprout(at)verizon(dot)net or http://www.proutfuneralhome.com

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