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Over the centuries, Christians have laid the dead to rest in churches, where they are remembered and their remains safeguarded.  Burial within the church itself, or in the adjacent churchyard was once a common practice.

In recent years, cremation with interment of the ashes, rather than burial, has become more common.  In this way, the remains of the deceased can stay on at the church that played such an important part in their lives.

In keeping with this tradition, St. Mary’s offers the opportunity for parishioners’ ashes and those of their loved ones to repose in the tranquil, contemplative atmosphere of our inner courtyard.  This is a unique ministry in San Francisco, as there are very few cemeteries within the City, and few columbaria located out of doors.  Designed by parishioner Bruce Prescott, AIA, the Columbarium at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin incorporates 145 niches, each sized to accommodate up to two urns, depending on their size and shape.

Because of church rules regulating ownership of church property, subscribers are technically granted a permanent “use permit” rather than actual ownership of their selected niches.  Niches are selected on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you have further questions, please contact the church office at (415) 921-3665 or