Funeral Guide and Rules


Immediately following the death of a loved one is a difficult time wrought with emotion. Added to that is the need to plan funeral services and burial for the deceased. The Good Shepherd Catholic Church staff can help your family with the funeral planning needs by offering assistance with the arrangements and guidance to the family. This can ease the process considerably and enable you to plan a personal service that suits the wishes of the deceased as well as the emotional, spiritual and financial needs of the family.

Good Shepherd Planning Support
  • The Pastor and staff at Good Shepherd will assist you with the following aspects of the funeral service:
  • Scheduling -- the staff will work with your family and the funeral home you have chosen to coordinate dates and times for funeral services.
  • Visitation -- if you wish, visitation may be held at the church or at a funeral home.
  • Funeral Mass -- the church offers a guide for planning a funeral Mass; suggestions for readings, music and prayers are also provided. The staff can assist you in choosing those most suitable for your service.
  • Inurnment and Cremation -- the Good Shepherd Columbarium is available for those parishioners who wish to have their final resting place on the church grounds. At the time of need, the staff will help with procurement of a niche or use of a previously purchased niche.  Should you plan to use the Columbarium, the procedure is rather simple.  When you visit the church to plan the funeral, you will be given an urn to take to the Funeral Home where you will arrange for the cremation.  The urn will be the correct size for the niche, attractive, and suitable for the viewing and church service.  Due to space constraints, you must use the urn we provide.  The Funeral Home will return the urn with the cremains in it after the cremation.   Following the services, the urn will be secured in the columbarium niche.
  • Interment– burial arrangements for this option are primarily made through a Funeral Home in coordination with the church.
The Funeral Home

Funeral home personnel are compassionate, knowledgeable people who are able to help the family of the deceased with all aspects of the burial as well as other details that require attention. Some of the arrangements with which a funeral home can assist include:

  • Transportation of the deceased from the home or hospital to the funeral home or crematory and church.
  • Planning of funeral services including date and time, location of visitation and burial plans.
  • If cremation is chosen the funeral home will make all the necessary arrangements.
  • Placement of obituaries in local newspapers and assistance with writing them.
  • Ordering prayer cards for distribution at the visitation.
  • Ordering death certificates.
  • Assistance with other arrangements or details including referrals to florists, etc.

In addition to helping with funeral arrangements at the time of death, most funeral homes offer preplanning services. This enables a family to make arrangements in a less pressured and more thoughtful environment.

Huntsville Area Funeral Homes

While the Huntsville area offers a number of funeral homes that you may wish to consult, the following is a list of some of the local funeral homes most often used by the Good Shepherd community:

Berryhill Funeral Home & Crematory

2305 North Memorial Parkway, Huntsville, AL


Hampton Cove Funeral Home (formerly Twickenham)

6262 Highway 431 South, Hampton Cove, AL 

256- 518-9168

Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Inc.

2320 Bob Wallace Ave, Huntsville, AL


Spry Funeral Home & Crematory

2411 North Memorial Parkway, Huntsville, AL


Operating Rules & Regulations 

Good Shepherd Catholic Church, hereafter referred to as the "Church," has built a Columbarium to provide niches for the inurnment of our loved ones.

Columbarium Board

The Pastor has appointed a Board, composed of five volunteer members of the Church.  They will oversee the operation of the columbarium and issue an annual report to the Pastor.

Rite of Inurnment

For the purpose of control and clear understanding, a Rite of Inurnment Certificate will be executed for each columbarium niche.  One niche will accommodate one or two urns.  The Rite of Inurnment Certificate does not constitute a sale of property, but is merely the provision of a secure space.  All ownership of the land and the columbarium remains with the Church.  This instrument states the right of the parties, including specifically a provision granting full authority to the Church to move or relocate niches with cremains if relocation of the columbarium becomes necessary in the opinion of the Board.


The columbarium is constructed of stone, stucco, and concrete with gardens appropriate to the setting.  Niche faceplates are of limestone and engraved at the time of inurnment.  The urns, inurnment of one or two urns (whichever is applicable), and engraving costs are included in the cost of the niche.  Each niche is 11.5" wide x 11.5" high and 11.5" deep and has a capacity for two urns.

Operation and Duties of The Board

A. The rules and regulations set forth herein plus any future amendments, approved by the Pastor, shall govern the operation of the Columbarium Board.

B. The Board and the Pastor will decide any matter not covered by the rules and regulations set forth herein and will review and amend them as required.  All who use the columbarium agree to abide by the rules and regulations as they now exist, or as they may be amended in the future.

C. The Custodian of the Columbarium is responsible for the daily administration and record keeping to include the following:

  • The name of each person to whom a Rite of Inurnment is issued
  • The name of each inurnment of cremains in a niche
  • The names and addresses of the next of kin of niche purchaser(s)
  • A diagram showing the owner of each individual niche in the columbarium
  • A list of each name engraved on a faceplate, with the dates of birth and death, and the date of inurnment

D. The Board shall consist of five members of the Church.  Each initially appointed board member shall serve a 3-year term and the Board will decide on the rotation procedure for future terms.  The Chairman of the Board shall be elected by the board members and is responsible for coordination with the Pastor.

E. The Board shall meet at any time at the discretion of the Chairman, to conduct business.  The presence of three members or more shall constitute a quorum.

F. The Board is responsible for the management of all funds directly associated with the columbarium.

G. The cost of construction and maintenance of the columbarium will be covered by the sale of the niches.  The Board will be responsible for budgeting funds to cover the expense of the columbarium custodian, utilities, insurance, maintenance of the facility and appropriate landscaping.

H. Funds accumulated from the sale of the niches will be placed in the columbarium's bank account. When this accumulation exceeds the amount needed for operation, maintenance and care of the columbarium and grounds, it will be set aside toward columbarium expansion.  In the event accumulated funds exceed these needs, they may be used for capital improvements or repairs to the Church at the discretion of the Board and the Pastor.

I. The Board will provide suitable planting and landscaping in the columbarium area.  No flowers, plants or other decoration may be placed in the areas without prior approval of the Board.  Memorial flowers may be placed in the Church on any designated Sunday.

J. Special cases may arise in which literal enforcement of these Rules and Regulations or fees may impose unnecessary hardship.  The Pastor and the Board, therefore, reserve the right, without notice, to grant exceptions to any of these Rules and Regulations or fees, when in the judgment of the Board such action appears advisable.  Such exceptions shall in no way be construed as affecting the general application of these Rules and Regulations and shall not constitute a waiver of any of them.

Rules of Inurnment

A. The reservation of a niche and the payment of the fee give the individual the right to be inurned.  The Church provides only the urns, niches, engraving and inurnment and is not responsible for other costs for funeral expenses of whatever nature.

B. Anyone who possesses a signed Ritet of Inurnment Certificate with the church seal may apply at any time for authorization of the inurnment of a single urn containing the cremains of one of the persons listed on the Rite of Inurnment Certificate.  Authorization can be granted for inurnment of a different family member upon the approval of the Pastor.  A separate authorization shall be required for each inurnment.

C. No transfer of reservation of a columbarium niche may be made to another person, estate or corporation.  However, the Church may repurchase a niche for just cause as determined by the Board.  Niches with cremains in them will not be repurchased.  

D. All arrangements for inurnment will be under the direction of the Pastor of the Church.  The service will be as prescribed by the Pastor in consultation with the family and in accordance with the doctrine of the Catholic Church.  Exceptions must receive prior approval of the Pastor.  Neither the Church nor the Pastor shall be responsible for the identity of the cremains that are to be inurned.

E. The urn will be sent with the family to the crematory for emplacement of the ashes.  A funeral home will make these arrangements and have the urn cap permanently placed once the ashes are enclosed.  The urn is then placed in the reserved niche at the Church following the planned services.

F.  The purchaser assumes the obligation to have the remains cremated and otherwise prepared in accord with the applicable laws of the State of Alabama.

G. Removal of an urn for permanent inurnment in another facility will be permitted only upon presentation of the appropriate legal documents. 

H. Only the cremains of humans will be allowed to be inurned in the columbarium niches.  However, inert personal mementos may be placed with each urn provided they would fit in the available space.

I. Persons eligible to be inurned in the columbarium include:

  • Current and Former Registered parishioners and their immediate family members (spouse, children, parents).

  • Members of the Catholic community and others, with prior approval of the Board and the Pastor.  The number of niches available to non-parishioners will be capped at a number decided by the Board and Pastor.

Note: Immediate family members need not be Catholic to be inurned.

Responsibilities of the Church

A. The Church shall maintain the columbarium and each niche in good condition by  taking reasonable precautions against defacement or defilement of the niches and the engraving of the faceplates through the use of a fence with gates to be locked at night and motion activated security lights.  The Church shall maintain and preserve all records pertaining to the columbarium.  The Church shall also establish a maintenance fund that is to be derived from fees received from the sale of niches.

B.  If sufficient funds and need exists, the Board shall have the right to physically expand the columbarium and associated landscaping in compliance with applicable local ordinances.

C.   In the event that the Church or the columbarium shall be relocated or ceases to operate or in the event of the destruction of the columbarium resulting from an act of God, the Church shall cause the re-inurnment of the cremains at another facility approved by the Church.  If such is not available, the Board shall cause the cremains to be disposed of in accordance with Catholic doctrine and in a legal manner.