Funerals

Funerals

CELEBRATION OF FUNERALS

In accord with present Diocesan policy, funerals for any of the faithful departed must be celebrated in his or her own parish church, not a funeral home. However, any member of the Christian faithful, or those commissioned to arrange for the funeral, may choose another church for the funeral rite with consent of its pastor, and after informing the departed person’s pastor.

 

Time

Funerals, with or without Mass, are not to be celebrated on Sunday. Funerals may be celebrated on holy days of obligation, but not within the context of a Mass. The Eucharist may not be celebrated or distributed at a funeral on holy days. This includes holy days which occur on a Saturday or Monday when the obligation may have been dispensed. Funerals may be celebrated on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, but not within the context of a Mass. The Eucharist may not be celebrated or distributed at a funeral on these days. Wake services may be held on a Sunday.

 

Funeral Rites

Catechumens are considered members of the Christian faithful. Unbaptized children may be granted funeral rites if the parents intended to baptize the child. No Catholic is to be denied funeral rites without consulting the archbishop or his delegate.

 

Cremation

Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites.

The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.

If cremation took place before a Funeral Liturgy the celebrant is allowed to celebrate the Funeral Liturgy in the presence of the cremated remains. Care must be taken that all is carried out with due decorum. The cremated remains of the body are to be placed in a worthy vessel. A small table or stand is prepared in the place that normally is occupied by the coffin. The vessel containing the cremated remains may be carried to its place in the entrance procession.