DETROIT (WWJ) – Father Charles Morris is known as the “Green Priest.”
The administrator for St. Christopher parish in Detroit has long championed green causes and it seemed natural he’d include helping those who want to be buried in a more natural or environmentally conscience way.
Through his efforts, a small portion of Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Wyandotte has been designated for “green burials.” This can mean being buried in a simple wood box or shroud and the use of green embalming fluids — or none at all.
Morris said his interest in being buried green started as a boy.
“I would think, why not bury me in the corn field so my body could be given back to the earth? My faith teaches me I won’t need my body anymore,” Morris told WWJ’s Marie Osborb.
There have been few takers for green burials so far, but he said it’s a trend that’s growing.
Morris said people around the world and in this country up until the Civil War had simple burials. Embalming fluids were developed during the Civil War so mothers could have their sons shipped for burial back home.
Morris remembers one woman who asked for and received a green burial was returned to the earth wearing a shroud made of fabric the family had purchased in Damascus. Her family made the burial shroud and Morris said it was a beautifully spiritual moment for everyone.
He said a green burial can help bring people closer to the process of life and death.
“We live in the Pepsi generation, everything can be so antiseptic.” Morris said most faith traditions allow for green burials.