One of Notre Dame’s most iconic views is seen while driving up to Main Circle, where trees line the streets, and the Golden Dome is front and center. To the left, however, is a melancholic sight – Cedar Grove Cemetery. The cemetery sits on 22-acres of land, sharing a boundary with the Warren Golf Course. Though a green oasis for the first few months of school, the grass dies with the winter weather to reveal a more eerie sight worth considering this spooky season of Halloween.
There are multiple buildings tucked in the forestry that surrounds Cedar Grove Cemetery. The All Souls Chapel is closest building to campus, constructed in 1850 by Brother Francis Xavier, one of the priests that traveled with Father Sorin at the time of Notre Dame’s establishment.
The chapel seats only 40 guests but allows for smaller Masses to be held on Memorial Day, as well as funeral services available at request. The Mausoleum Complex is a larger structure, made up of four columbariums, which stores cremated remains as well as bodies about to be buried. The St. Joseph Columbarium was recently added in 2022, with more affordable cremation and interment options available for Notre Dame staff, faculty and eligible retirees.
In Cedar Grove Cemetery, there is limited space for burials, so spots are restricted to people who meet certain requirements regarding their affiliation to the university. Full-time staff members and faculty members that pass away are granted in-ground burial purchases. In addition, spots are granted to those who retired at age 55 with at least 15 years of service to ND, at age 62 with at least 10 years, and at age 65 with at least five years.
While in-ground spots are limited, others are eligible for above-ground interment space. Notre Dame alumni, parishioners of Sacred Heart of at least five years and others who meet the requirements for in-ground burial are eligible. Eligible members may purchase up to four above-ground interments.
Over half of burials are booked pre-death. Notre Dame is special in that there is a cemetery on campus, as only six other universities share this feature. While the cemetery may seem like a dreary or less-than-ideal welcome to campus as you drive up Notre Dame Avenue, it indeed helps us recognize those who have served the university in the past.