The Archdiocese of Philadelphia's cemeteries may soon be in private hands.
A hearing is scheduled for today that could be the final step to approving a 60 year lease of the burial grounds.
Under the proposal, 13 cemeteries could be leased for 60 years to the company StoneMor of Levittown which already has nearly 300 nationwide.
Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin says the goal is to bring in much needed funds for the church.
"We're looking at a transaction that has an upfront payment of approximately $53 million to the archdiocese and our plan would be to take $30 million of the upfront payment and to apply that to the underfunded liability to the trust and loan to the parishes and to split the remainder between the risk insurance fund and the priest pension fund for the archdiocese," he said.
Gavin says the archdiocese has notified every church so that parishioners can comment.
"We also put a dedicated webpage on the archdiocesan website, it contains information about the hearing date and full information about the transaction was well. We mailed information to all lot-holders who are currently making payments," he said.
Gavin says the deal allows for expanding burials to non-Catholics, but only with the Archbishop's permission.