Government statistics do not count by religion, but Russell Demkovitz, director of cemeteries for the Metuchen Diocese, said more than 100 funerals at Holy Cross last year were for people cremated at New Jersey's approximately 30 existing crematoria.
estimated that 15 percent of Catholic funerals across the state last year involved cremation.
The diocese's decision to build a crematory was based on increased demand, and because money from cremations _ after the crematory is paid off several years from now _ can help support the cemetery, Demkovitz
acknowledged the diocese had to consider a delicate issue before it decided, two years ago, to go ahead with the project.
"We had to answer, `If we do build a crematorium, will that look like we're pushing cremation and not following the guidelines of church?"' he
The $600,000 crematory also will be available for non-Catholics "in order for this to make sense financially," Demkovitz