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Mausoleum Q&A

March 29, 2007

Will the mausoleum last an eternity?

Built with poured-in-place concrete and steel rods, Ascension Cemetery's Guardian Angel Mausoleum is designed to stand for ages, said Michael Wesner, director of cemeteries for the Diocese of Orange. He likened the structure's longevity to centuries-old European mausoleums and the Taj Mahal, India's famous marble mausoleum, which was completed in 1648. Wesner also noted that Mission San Fernando's mausoleum emerged from the 1994 Northridge earthquake "without a single crack."

How much do mausoleum spaces cost?

Prices vary according to location and height. At Ascension Cemetery, an eye-level crypt near one of the mausoleum's two mosaics runs $15,000. An out-of-the-way urn niche near the ceiling costs $350. Each mausoleum compartment has room for two caskets or two urns. The building is ringed by 18 private gardens containing underground burial vaults. The gardens cost $50,000 to $150,000.

What does the diocese plan for its other cemeteries?

Over the next few decades, Good Shepherd Cemetery in Huntington Beach will build four or five mausoleums, including one with a chapel. Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange is planning two mausoleums -- a smaller one like Ascension's and a two-story crypt building with two chapels.

Roy Rivenburg

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