Oakwood Diocesan Cemetery

Oakwood Cemetery serves all the Catholic parish families in the Diocese of Gaylord on a pre-planning or at-need basis. Counselors provide assistance with funeral arrangements in a caring and supportive manner offering a full line of cemetery products and services:

  • Ground Space
  • Mausoleum Space
  • Niche Space
  • Lawn Crypts
  • Memorials

Cemetery Location:


Located within:
Oakwood City Cemetery
Eighth Street
Traverse City, Michigan

Office Location:
1720 Hannah Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686
Phone: 231-947-7921
Fax: 231-947-837

Pre-Need Planning

Advanced planning in a Catholic cemetery is not only an affirmation of your faith but is one of the most thoughtful expressions of love and concern you can show your family. Take a moment to think about the following benefits offered by Pre-Need Planning.

  • You will spare others from having to make a hasty decision at a most emotional and stressful time.
  • The tendency to overspend when making at-need arrangements will be avoided.
  • Most of all, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing everything will be handled according to your wishes and reflecting your beliefs.

Burial Options

In-Ground Interment
Oakwood Catholic Diocesan Cemetery offers this traditional form of burial with your choice of memorialization. Your peace of mind is further enhanced by the beautifully landscaped grounds and the perpetual care guaranteed by the Diocese of Gaylord.

Mausoleum Entombment
The Diocese of Gaylord is aware of the growing popularity of above-ground entombment. Once a way of burial reserved for the wealthy, entombment crypts and cremation niches are now available at moderate prices. Our new mausoleum is sure to become an enduring shrine for generations to come.

Monuments and Markers
Granite monuments and flush markers are available in a wide variety of colors, styles and sizes.


What is the role of the parish in setting the time and place of the funeral?
The parish, with the funeral director, decides the time and place of the Prayer Vigil (Wake) for the deceased and the funeral Mass.

May the rosary be substituted for the Prayer Vigil?
No, the Liturgy for the Prayer Vigil is part of the Funeral Rite and is determined in the Order of Christian Funerals. The rosary may be recited by a group at another time during the visitation.

May a Funeral Mass be celebrated in the funeral home?
Only in very extraordinary circumstances. The size of a funeral is not a valid reason to have the Funeral Mass in the funeral home. No matter how small the gathering, the deceased has a right through baptism to have a Mass in the parish Church.

May the Funeral Mass be celebrated on any day of the year?
The Funeral Mass has first place among the Masses for the dead and may be celebrated on any day except solemnitities that are days of obligation, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum and the Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Easter season.

Cremation & Catholics

We make decisions on a regular basis. We know the best decisions are made when we gather as much information as possible, integrate the information into our situation and then choose according to our personal circumstances. Decisions concerning cremation, just like any other burial choice, are hard decisions.

Selecting cremation is both a personal and family decision. Cremation is also a religious issue. The Catholic Church has concerns about its teachings and the way death is celebrated in its liturgy and this must also be considered.

The Church Perspective
Although cremation was a common practice among Greeks and Romans, Christians moved away from the practice. Faith in the resurrection of the body, reverence for the body as a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit and a strong reaction to persecutors' use of burning bodies as a taunt against belief in the resurrection were the reasons.

In the Church's earlier history cremation was forbidden except when extreme public necessity, plague or nature disaster required rapid disposition of bodies. This changed in May of 1963 when a Holy Office instruction (Piam et Constantem) modified the Church's position. Cremation could be requested for a sound reason. Only if the request was motivated by denial of Christian dogma or a hatred of the Catholic Church would there be a problem.

The Church prefers burial or entombment after the manner of Christ's own burial. Cremation may be chosen, however, for good reason. This might include hygienic, economic or reasons of a public or private nature. Some examples might include the transfer of the remains to a distant place, the avoidance of considerable expense, an ethnic tradition/custom or a severe fear of earth burial. The selection of cremation should be the specific choice of the individual before death and the wishes and concerns of family members must be considered.

While the Catholic Bishops have approved the use of cremation as an option, although not recommending cremation as the preferred option of burial, the Church encourages that cremation take place after the Prayer Vigil and the Funeral Mass -- having the body present. The Bishops have indicated that cremation should take place following the celebration of the Funeral Mass.


Nowhere is the need for careful advance planning of funeral and burial rites more important than when an individual has reviewed Church tradition and teaching and concluded that cremation is appropriate. Pre-planning is critical for a number of reasons, including:

  • The opportunity to raise the question with other family members and discuss their comfort with this selection.
  • The need to research the impact of the cremation option on the celebration of the Church's Funeral Rites.
  • The need to fully understand what is being selected and what obligations remain to be satisfied.

We are accustomed to making our own decisions about daily life and future plans. We exert control over the final distribution of our assets and care for our survivors through a will and provide for life insurance polices. The care and attention given to these decisions should also be extended to the decision about cremation.
In giving serious consideration to cremation, what are the appropriate steps to take? The Diocese of Gaylord would recommend the following:

  • Understand the teachings and traditions of our Faith community.
  • Discuss the matter with those closest to you and make sure they can accept cremation should you pre-decease them.
  • Consult with experienced professionals about arrangements that can be made in advance. Such selections would include choice of cemetery, decision about in-ground or above-ground inurnment of the cremated remains, selection of an appropriate urn and provision for payment in advance of all items that can be secured in this fashion.
  • Understand the variety of Funeral Rites that are provided for the benefit of you and your survivors, Rites that traditionally include the Prayer Vigil, Funeral Mass with the body present and Committal Service at the cemetery. Take into account the time necessary to perform the cremation and develop a workable sequence of events that is faithful to both personal requirements and the Church's Rituals. This will be especially important when the decision for cremation is based on a desire to be buried at a considerable distance from the place of death.

Inurnment Options

For Catholics, among the many practical options, there are two more consistent with our burial practices: in-ground and above-ground inurnment. The first rule is that memorialization or identification can take place. With that in mind, inurnment may take place in the following ways:

Ground Inurnment:

  • In an existing full grave with permission for one or more cremation burials.
  • In an urn garden with smaller graves to accommodate cremated remains.
  • In the same grave space already reserved/used for another family member's full burial, carefully observing cemetery regulations for easements and memorialization.

Above-Ground Inurnment:

  • In a columbarium with a glass front; only found inside a building.
  • In a columbarium with a closed granite front; found in interior and exterior settings.
  • In a columbarium with a closed marble front; usually found inside a building.
  • In some instances, a cemetery may allow inurnment of cremated remains in a full mausoleum crypt and permit memorialization.

Burial at sea in a worthy, heavy container is acceptable within the Catholic burial tradition when a person dies at sea. Scattering cremated remains does not fit within the guidelines approved by the Bishops.
While all of the options for burial or inurnment of cremated remains are not available at every Catholic cemetery in the Diocese of Gaylord, part of your pre-need consideration of this issue will be to check with the cemetery of your choice to determine which options are available.

Directives for Catholic Burial

Why does the Church have directives on burial?

The Catholic Church has always respected the Dignity of the Human Person from conception to natural death. That Human Dignity does not leave the body at death. The body has served the living person as a Temple of the Holy Spirity and, therefore, deserves to be reverenced after death. Please click on the Directives Brochure for more information.