When we refer to the Contemporary Funeral Service we are indicating that the deceased human remains are not present for the visitation or service. In fact we usually refer to the visitation as “a gathering of friends and family”. Most of the time cremation is chosen as the form of final disposition but burial is still an option. The cremated remains may be scattered, buried, or saved by family members.
The prices listed to the right are meant to show a variety of different options that are available to you and your family. Remember that each funeral service is arranged to meet the needs of your family.
We are a proud member of the Cremation Society of North America.
Cremation is a process for preparing the body for its ultimate disposition. By using a high temperature open flame, the body is reduced to bone particles and fragments. Organic tissue and bone are oxidized to elemental substances in a fraction of the time required by the bacterial decomposition of earth burial or entombment. Cremation is simply an alternative to other forms of final disposition such as burial.
The choice of cremation for funeral disposition is chosen only about one of four times. However, the cremation rate has almost doubled in the last decade. The cremation rate in Minnesota was 38% in 2005. Ramsey County and Dakota County had rates of 42% and 44% respectively.
A number of factors have contributed to the increase in cremation:
Society is becoming less traditional, less religious, and more mobile. As a result, cremation is seen as the simplest form of memorialization.
Cremation has a certain romantic attraction. Television and movies, for the sake of dramatic simplification, frequently portray cremation as the memorialization of choice, even though it only composes one-fifth of all dispositions.
Immediate cremation is a less expensive alternative when compared to the traditional funeral. However this comparison isn’t accurate. The cost of cremation should be compared to the cemetery expenses of earth burial or entombment. In this apple to apples comparison the cost difference is negligible.
Aggressive marketing and misinformation by the cremation societies have contributed to the increase in cremations. Unfortunately, much of the advertising and marketing from these companies has created confusion and apprehension regarding the grief process and basic human emotions.
Cremation is viewed to be more environmentally safe and a cleaner process of disposition. However, studies indicate that the natural gas consumption and the smoke stack emissions from crematories affect the environment more negatively than the natural decomposition of earth burial.
Grief therapists and psychiatrists stress the importance of visitations and funerals. The American funeral industry evolved from the needs of people. Every society in the world memorializes its dead. Every society works through a process of grief and mourning regardless of culture, history, or religion. The tradition of visitations and funerals exist to allow us a forum to deal with death. Cremation should be looked at as an alternative to earth burial or entombment, not as a replacement to visitations and funeral services. Incorporating cremation into funeral service is as varied in its options as other forms of final disposition. One option is the traditional funeral service with the interment ceremony at the crematory. Another option is immediate cremation where there is no embalming, viewing, or service. Many options exist between these two extremes.
Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service provides an alternative to purchasing a casket if cremation is chosen as the final means of disposition. Our “rental casket” is a beautiful mahogany stained tulipwood. This casket is used just for the visitation or service. An alternative container is then provided for the actual cremation. If the actual purchase of a casket is the preference, we have a number of all wood caskets available that are designed and built specifically for cremation.
Urns are not required by state or local law, nor do cemeteries require urns. The cremated remains are returned to our mortuary in a plastic box that is suitable for burial or placement in a columbarium.
Should one prefer an urn, a number of urns are available at all of our funeral homes. Urns are made of many varied materials, such as wood, bronze, copper, stainless steel or ceramic. The selection of an urn is based on personal choice, esthetics, and price.
The process of cremation is as old as man. The first documented cremations took place in Greece during the Bronze Age (4000 B.C. – 1000 B.C.). As predominate religious and philosophical belief systems changed throughout history so did the popularity of cremation.
History of Cremation
Today in Minnesota, cremation is an accepted form of final disposition. Currently, the cremation rate in the Twin City Metropolitan Area is over 40%. However, this has not always been the case. Although cremation is widely accepted in other parts of the world, it has taken many years for the practice to be accepted in the Midwestern United States.
Scholars today quite generally agree that cremation probably began in any real sense during the early Stone Age — around 3000 B.C. — and most likely in southern Europe and the Near East. During the late Stone Age cremation began to spread across northern Europe, as evidenced by particularly informative finds of decorative pottery urns in western Russia among the Slavic peoples.
With the advent of the Bronze Age — 2500 to 1000 B.C. — cremation moved into the British Isles and into what is now Spain and Portugal. Cemeteries for cremation developed in Hungary and northern Italy, spreading to northern Europe, and even Ireland.
In the Mycenaean Age — around 1000 B.C. — cremation became an integral part of the elaborate Grecian burial custom. In fact, it became the dominant mode of disposition by the time of Homer in 800 B.C. and was actually encouraged for reasons of health and for the expedient burial of slain warriors.
Following this Grecian trend, the early Romans probably embraced cremation some time around 600 B.C., and it apparently became so prevalent that an official decree had to be issued in the mid 5th Century against the cremation of bodies within the city.
By the time of the Roman Empire — 27 B.C. to 395 A.D. — cremation was widely practiced. During this period, cremated remains were generally stored in elaborate urns, and often placed within columbarium-like buildings.
Though prevalent among the Romans, cremation was rare with the early Christians, who considered it pagan, and in the Jewish culture, where traditional sepulcher entombment was preferred.
By 400 A.D., however, as a result of Constantine’s Christianization of the Empire and the Christian belief in the physical resurrection of the body, earth burial had completely replaced cremation except for rare instances of plague or war. For the next 1,500 years, earth burial remained the accepted mode of disposition throughout Europe.
The modern cremation process is relatively recent development, and has been used for only a little over a century. When Professor Brunetti of Italy perfected a cremation chamber, and displayed it at the 1873 Vienna Exposition, the modern cremation movement began. In the British Isles, the movement was fostered by Queen Victoria’s surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson. Concerned with hazardous health conditions, Sir Henry and his colleagues founded the Cremation Society of England in 1874. The first crematories in Europe were built in 1878 in Woking, England and Gotha, Germany.
In North America, the modern cremation movement began in 1876 when Dr. Julius LeMoyne built the first crematory in Pennsylvania.
For most of its history, the Roman Catholic Church has opposed the practice of cremation. In fact, until the 1960’s, the Church banned the practice of modern cremation; even today, the Church officially prefers traditional earth burials. Despite this preference, cremation is now permitted, so long as the practice is not intended to express a refusal to believe in the resurrection of the body. Until 1997, Church regulations stipulated that cremation was to take place after the Mass of Christian Burial ritual.
The Church does specify requirements for the disposition of ashes, so long as the ashes are treated reverently, and buried or entombed in an appropriate container. The Church does not permit the scattering of ashes or keeping them at home. Even today, some of the more traditional members of the Roman Catholic Church have objected to the practice of allowing cremation.
Some branches of Christianity still oppose cremation. The Eastern Orthodox Church forbids cremation. Exceptions are made for circumstances where it may not be avoided (e.g., when civil authority demands it). Cremation may also be allowed if the Eastern Orthodox Church allows for an exception, which can only be granted for good cause. When a cremation is willfully chosen without good cause, the deceased is not permitted a funeral in the church, and may also be permanently excluded from liturgical prayers for the departed. In Orthodoxy, cremation is a rejection of the dogma of the general resurrection, and as such is viewed harshly.