Does Marion have a Catholic cemetery or not?
Marion promised the Wichita Catholic Diocese in 1951 that only Catholics would be buried in the southeastern portion of Marion Cemetery, officially designated St. Mark Cemetery.
Since then, however, the city has been selling lots in that portion of the cemetery to anyone.
A 1951 deed gave the section to the diocese. The deed contains promises between the two.
“It is understood and agreed between the parties hereto that this conveyance is made … with the express understanding that said tract or parcel of land is to be used for the interment of the deceased members of St. Mark’s parish and such other deceased Catholics as may desire to be buried therein,” the deed states.
The city agreed to maintain St. Mark Cemetery in the same way as the city cemetery, which it has done.
Another agreement in the deed was that plots were to be sold by the diocese with the money turned over to the city.
No modifications of the agreement are on file with the register of deeds office. However, the city has sold plots there on its own since at least 1966. Those deeds are recorded in the register of deeds office, which still lists the Catholic cemetery as a separate parcel from the rest of the cemetery.
Assistant city clerk Becky Makovec, a Catholic herself, said she was unaware the diocese owned St. Mark Cemetery.
“From what I’ve been told, the existing priest had blessed the ground,” she said. “Anyone can purchase there. There are no restrictions.”
The city wants families to buy plots that are right for them, she said. Sometimes they choose plots near friends or relatives.
Catholic Diocese of Wichita Catholic Cemeteries said it was unaware the diocese owned St. Mark Cemetery and could find no record of ownership.
In Wichita, protestants can be buried in Catholic cemeteries.
Father Brian Bebak at Holy Family Parish could not be reached for comment.
Last modified March 10, 2022