St. Joseph Cemetery

In colonial New England, early town cemeteries were often segregated by race, religion, and ethnicity. Burial could also be denied because of life-style or cause of death. As the number of Catholic churches began to increase, parishioners, for religious reasons, preferred their own cemeteries. In life, the deceased had gathered together in their parish church for the celebration of Holy Mass. In death, they waited together in the parish cemetery for the return of the Lord at the end of time. Land for Catholic cemeteries, as well as for those other minority groups, was mostly available only in undeveloped sections of the village or even outside town boundaries.

The first Catholic parish in Falmouth (St. Joseph, Woods Hole) was built on land donated by Joseph Fay, a Boston businessman and summer resident. At the time Saint Joseph Church was built, the closest Catholic cemetery was in Sandwich. In 1891, Joseph Fay (who was not a Catholic) also donated forty acres of land on Sols Pond on what is now Gifford Street to serve as St. Joseph Cemetery. Saint Joseph cemetery, while retaining its original name, eventually came under the care of Saint Patrick Church, Falmouth.

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Among the gravesites of historical interest is that of Father Timothy J. Duff. Father Duff was born in Falmouth in 1883 and was ordained a priest in Baltimore in 1907. He was the first native-born Cape Codder to become a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, his ministry lasted only seven years. After a lengthy illness, he died in Falmouth on Christmas Eve, 1914, at the home of his mother.

Saint Joseph Cemetery contains a number of the graves of early Catholics in Falmouth. There are also the graves of several priests, including some of the former pastors of Saint Patrick Church. The various sections of the cemetery are named in honor of priests who served St. Patrick Parish.



Cost Structure as of February 11th, 2019

Full-casket Plots


Cremations Plots

Single grave plot (3.5 ft x 10 ft.) $1,200 Single cremains plot (2 cremations, 3 ft. x 7 ft.) $800
Double grave plot (7 ft. x 10 ft.) $2,400    

Openings / Closings


Openings / Closings

Single plot $1,200 Single plot


Double plot $2,400 Double burial


Additional Charges


Additional Charges

Saturday AM $420 Saturday AM


Saturday PM $540 Saturday PM
(Mass times 11:00 a.m. and after)


Sunday $1200 Sunday/Holiday


Holiday $1,450 Large container ( > 10″ L x 10″ W)


    Frost charge


    Snow removal per 100 square feet


Basic Information

  • When a person “buys” a grave, it is very clear in the deed that a person purchases the “right” to bury a person in a specific grave, but per se the “property” belongs to the Diocese (and parish).
  • Lots in the cemetery that are under the direct control of the Chancery are not to be sold but there is conveyed the right of burial, which right, according to the deed issued, “is subject to the laws and regulations made, in the care and management of the cemetery by the Cemetery authorities.
  • Deed holders shall not transfer their right of burial in any lot unless such transfer has the approval of the Cemetery authorities and is entered on the records of the Cemetery.
  • The Cemetery authorities will not be responsible for the care or safety of any stone, metal or other structure, that may be placed on the lot, and for loss or damage to articles placed on graves.
  • For the safety of cemetery workers, stone chips, crushed stone, gravel, shells, etc. are not permitted around stones and will be removed without notice.  Enclosures such as fences, hedges, curbs or corner posts, bricks, iron work, etc., above grade shall not be allowed around perimeter of plots.  These and any other items cannot be placed to the side or behind the gravestone in order to allow for proper care of the lot.

Responsibilities of St. Patrick Church

  • Mowing of the grass in the summer
  • Plowing the cemetery roads in the winter.
  • General spring and fall cleanup of leaves and debris.
  • Grass seed is planted in the spring and fall for all new interments, however continued irrigation would be the responsibility of the plot owner.  Water stations are located along the cemetery roadway.

Responsibilities of the cemetery plot owners

  • All shrubs should be miniature variety and not exceed the respective plot size.
  • Maintenance of grave plantings and general upkeep of the grave site and gravestone.
  • Headstone “face size” should not exceed 7.5 square ft. (30in.x 36in.) with possible exceptions for large multiple-family plots.
  • Nothing should be placed beyond the area of the specific plot or behind the headstone.
  • Please keep pets on a leash and be respectful of neighboring plots.
  • Please keep all automobiles, whether driven or parked, on the designated roadways.

The cemetery office is located in the Parish Administration Offices (undercroft of Saint Patrick Church) Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. or by appointment.  

Purchases of cemetery plots are non-refundable, however they are transferable with the original deed provided.

Please call 774-205-0331 for additional cemetery information and appointments.