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About The Cremation Process

Learn About the Cremation Process and Procedures, Cremation Burials and Interment Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Certified by the ICCFA (International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association) the folks here at Rome Monument are fully qualified to explain to you how the cremation process works in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania. Simply call us at 724-770-0100 and speak with one our Certified Cremation Specialists, Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan.

In brief, here is how the cremation process works:

  • At the time of death, the body is transported to the cremation facility where it is placed in a temperature-controlled environment for a Pennsylvania state-mandated 24 hours. 
  • The body is placed in a cremation chamber. The process takes 2-3 hours.
  • The cremated remains are removed and further processed to a consistent size and shape.
  • The fully processed cremated remains are placed into a cremation urn or temporary container.
  • The urn or container is delivered to a location requested by the family—to a family member or members, a cemetery, or a memorial facility where the remains are placed inside of monument or cremation keepsake. 

In addition to explaining the cremation process, Rome Monument is also uniquely qualified to explain the cremation costs, burial and internment services, memorialization options and other important details that will empower you and help you make the right decisions when the time arrives. Find out about the various cremation storage options such as: urns, jewelry, community columbariums (niches), cemetery cremation memorials, cremation memorial benches and cremation monuments. In addition, both Vince and Chris will also be happy to recommend Pittsburgh-based crematories that can perform the cremation and/or funeral homes that can provide a funeral or memorial service. 

To fully understand the cremation process in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Western Pennsylvania, make the call now to 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan, our Certified Cremation Specialists. The consultation is free and they will be happy to answer all your questions. 

It is important to understand the cremation process in advance of your passing or a member of your family’s. Only then can you act to make important decisions relating to the course of cremation arrangements and cremation costs in a relaxed, calm manner and with plenty of time to work out the details. This is called pre-planning. A Certified Cremation Counselor here at Rome Monuments can help you plan the process in advance to achieve the best results. Going forward, here’s a brief overview of what to plan for:

Before you even begin the process, come to a decision on what you want to do with the cremated remains. Options include: scattering the remains; placing them in an urn; placing them in a personalized cremation marker or cremation monument that will be set on your property or in a cemetery; burial of the cremated remains in a grave in a cemetery; above-ground entombment by placing the ashes in a niche or mausoleum in a cemetery. Remember, if you care to create a truly lasting remembrance of a loved one, you should choose a mode of cremation interment or cremation memorial option other than scattering the ashes or placing them in an urn.

Next, select a funeral home. We can provide a list of funeral homes in the Pittsburgh area and make recommendations based on your needs. You can talk to our Funeral Home Selection Advisor or schedule a free consultation by calling 724-770-0100. The funeral home will pick up the body, have you fill out the required paperwork, take the body to the crematory (crematorium), and then return the cremated remains to you.

If you haven’t pre-planned a service, now you must decide if you will have one, and what type you want.

You may choose a Direct Cremation with no service whatsoever. We feel this is not the best option as it does not allow for a specified period of mourning. You’d be surprised how many people will be calling you on the phone or coming up to you on the street to express their condolences long after a death.  

You may select a standard Funeral Service at the funeral home. If you wish to view the body, you can have the body embalmed and then cremated following the service.  

You may want to have a Life Celebration at your home, a park in the Pittsburgh area, a Country Club in or around Pittsburgh, hotel or wherever you feel appropriate. The cremated remains can be present at this type of service.

Finally, the cremated remains will reach their intended resting place. Again, they can be scattered, placed in an urn to go in your home, or placed in a more permanent memorial to go on your property or in a cemetery.

We can help you choose a personalized cremation memorial that will suit your needs and budget. Pre-planning memorialization is generally a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family.    

To fully understand the cremation process in Pittsburgh, as well as cremation costs, burial and internment services, and cremation memorialization options, simply call us at 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan. The consultation is free and they will be happy to answer all your questions regarding the steps in the cremation process.

 If your family is Catholic, you may want to visit the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh web site to read their policies regarding funeral rites with the cremated remains of a human body.  You can also download their cremation policy PDF which became effective for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in November, 1997.

Rev. Charles S. Bober, STD, who stepped down as president in January 2015,  but remains a Chaplain at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania was interviewed on the Pittsburgh Catholic website. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh publishes the weekly Catholic newspaper which was established in 1844. He provided some great answers to questions about cremation and the rules of the Catholic Church. Father Charles Bober suggests that people who are considering cremation for themselves should discuss their wishes with their parish priest well in advance of an end-of-life situation. In the interview, he sheds light on numerous topics regarding the actual funeral rites that often accompany cremation. The Reverend Charles S. Bober is now the Pastor at Saint Kilian Parish.

Some Jewish people are choosing to be cremated even though Jewish rules, laws and traditions forbid the practice of cremation. Members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community who have questions about cremation options may also contact The Ralph Schugar Funeral Chapel at (412) 621-8282. Their funeral home is the only one in Pittsburgh that is independently owned and operated by lifelong members of the Jewish community.

It is important for people who live in the Pittsburgh area that before the cremation process may be undertaken in a crematory, a death certificate must be filled out and signed an attending physician or medical examiner. Additionally, medical and civil authorities must also issue permits for cremation to occur. Click here for more information about the issuance of certificates of death, burial permits and the administration of other vital records in Pennsylvania. The next of kin also need to OK the plan to cremate the deceased remains. Once the actual cremation process is completed at the crematory, the cremated remains are stored in a portable container or cremation urn. Funeral homes usually help families take care of many of these steps and the associated paperwork. The cremated remains are usually delivered to the funeral home where a family member can then pick them up so that they may be committed to a final resting place.

To learn more about how cremation works and systems and techniques used to cremate human bodies, click here to read an excellent article on howstuffworks.com. The National Funeral Directors Association has a good 'Cremation FAQ' page on their web site that explains what happens during the cremation process. The National Cremation Society, founded in 1973 also does a good job explaining the cremation process on their 'Frequently Asked Questions' page. Some individuals may want to learn more about the cremation process by watching a video on YouTube, although we don't think it necessary. For a good overview of the history of cremation, visit the Cremation Association of North America web site.

Click here to learn about burial and cremation laws in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania law does not require a casket for cremation which is usually the single greatest expense incurred after a death. Pennsylvania state laws do not dictate where you may keep or scatter cremated remains. The Pennsylvania Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association helps Pennsylvania families understand concepts relative to final rights, disposition and permits. By Pennsylvania state law only licensed funeral directors in are permitted to make cremation arrangements.

In 2013, Allegheny Cemetery opened a hillside trail with beautiful views to provide Pittsburgh families with another option for cremated burials. Many families in Allegheny County, PA choose cremation because of the flexibility this option offers. People from Western Pennsylvania often decide to have an urn buried at a cemetery that has facilities for cremated remains months or even years after the memorial service for the deceased was conducted. These facilities may be burial spaces alongside trails, special gardens or indoor or outdoor columbariums.

In Squirrel Hill, the Homewood Cemetery maintains a beautiful lawn garden cremation garden, an indoor mausoleum and garden mausoleums for the final disposition of cremated remains. The Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh offers a Memorial Walk, private columbarium grave space, an above-ground columbarium for cremated remains, standard grave spaces that may hold up to two cremations and cemetery sites designated for cremation burials. Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in Pittsburgh offers indoor and outdoor columbarium niches for cremated human remains which are often referred to as cremains. For more information about cemeteries that provide options for the final disposition of cremated remains, call 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Cris Morgan.

Learn About the Cremation Process and Procedures, Cremation Burials and Interment Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Cemetery Options for the Final Disposition of Cremated Remains:

In 2013, Allegheny Cemetery opened a hillside trail with beautiful views to provide Pittsburgh families with another option for cremated burials. Many families in Allegheny County, PA choose cremation because of the flexibility this option offers. People from Western Pennsylvania often decide to have an urn buried at a cemetery that has facilities for cremated remains months or even years after the memorial service for the deceased was conducted. These facilities may be burial spaces alongside trails, special gardens or indoor or outdoor columbariums.

In Squirrel Hill, the Homewood Cemetery maintains a beautiful lawn garden cremation garden, an indoor mausoleum and garden mausoleums for the final disposition of cremated remains. The Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh offers a Memorial Walk, private columbarium grave space, an above-ground columbarium for cremated remains, standard grave spaces that may hold up to two cremations and cemetery sites designated for cremation burials. Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in Pittsburgh offers indoor and outdoor columbarium niches for cremated human remains which are often referred to as cremains. For more information about cemeteries that provide options for the final disposition of cremated remains, call 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Cris Morgan.