Archdiocese Local

Catholic Cemeteries initiative integrates practical, pastoral care

by Therese Horvat
Special to The Leaven

Persons making end-of-life pre-arrangements have the added advantage of making both their funeral plans and their cemetery plans all at one time with Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas.  

Using the “Catholic Circle of Protection” concept, Catholic Cemeteries family service advisers familiarize families with the steps, services and merchandise required from the time immediately following a person’s death through and after the final committal.

Bryan Alonzo, director of sales and marketing, said this concept (see graphic) provides an important framework for understanding as people preplan end-of-life arrangements. Through its comprehensive services, Catholic Cemeteries can meet many of the needs identified in collaboration with funeral home partners and local parishes.

“Similar to how persons preplan cemetery arrangements with us, they can now complete all of their funeral arrangements with our team as well,” said Sharon Vallejo, Catholic Cemeteries president. “Benefits include convenience, guaranteed pricing, ease for the family at their time of loss and helping ensure an individual’s wishes are met upon the person’s death.”

To provide these comprehensive services, Catholic Cemeteries offers a funeral insurance plan available through Forethought Life Insurance Company. Alonzo said that the archdiocesan ministry has offered this particular plan for about two years with an overwhelmingly positive response from the Catholic community about the ease of the whole process.

Alonzo emphasized that this is not a traditional term, whole life or universal life policy.

“Funeral insurance covers one-time, short-term expenses,” he said. “This funeral insurance pays out directly to the funeral home immediately upon death to cover these expenses as opposed to waiting on a traditional life policy that could take months to settle.”

He added that the funeral insurance plan does not require a physical exam; it is guaranteed to be issued to any applicant.

“The plan guarantees the funeral prices, a real plus as industry costs change rapidly due to inflation and material and labor expenses,” said Alonzo. “The plan is also protected from the Medicaid spend-down.”

The funeral insurance plan guarantees prices for those services selected by the family that are provided by the funeral home. This may include a professional services fee, transfer and transport of the deceased, embalming, dressing/casketing of the body, cremation fee (if applicable), hearse, limos, casket, and the use of funeral home facilities and staff for the visitation, funeral and committal service.

Catholic Cemeteries offers one-, three-, five- and 10-year payment plans for the funeral insurance. The one-year payment plan is interest free. Interest rates vary for the other plans based on a person’s age.

“There are no markups for these services,” said Alonzo. “Our families will receive rates identical to those offered by any of our funeral home partners.”

Vallejo said that Catholic Cemeteries is partnering with several funeral homes to offer this convenient service. Partners include: Porter Funeral Homes and Crematory (Kansas City, Kansas, and Lenexa);   Skradski Funeral Home, Kansas City, Kansas; Kansas City Funeral Directors, Kansas City, Kansas; Muehlebach Funeral Care, Kansas City, Missouri; Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, Topeka; Dove Cremations & Funerals, Topeka; Parker-Price Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, Topeka; and Penwell-Gabel Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, Topeka.

Similar to most funeral home staff members, Catholic Cemeteries family service advisers are licensed insurance providers in the state of Kansas. They train alongside funeral home partners to be able to serve knowledgeably and efficiently as an extension of their offerings. The family service advisers can assist families with funeral price comparisons, enrollment in the funeral insurance plan, and preplanning and arranging services offered directly through Catholic Cemeteries. The latter include space in the cemetery, mausoleum or columbarium; interment or inurnment; the vault or outer burial container; and the monument or memorial.

To make an appointment to discuss funeral and cemetery plans with a family service adviser, call (913) 371-4040 or send an email to:

A meeting to discuss both pre-arrangements will take approximately two hours; one hour to add funeral plan arrangements to pre-existing cemetery plans.

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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