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The Corporal Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy are acts of love that address the physical and material needs of others. Among these seven Works of Mercy is the responsibility to “Bury the dead.”

The Catholic Burial and Cremation Plan

The Catholic Burial and Cremation Plan was designed to help faithful members fulfill this duty and ensure their faith and beliefs are reflected through the rites of a Catholic Funeral. Our plan not only ensures your wishes are honored; it also spares your loved ones unnecessary expense and the burden of having to make decisions under pressure of time and emotion.

Our representatives can assist you in recording your final wishes so loved ones have all they need to celebrate your life in a way that honors you and your faith.

We invite you to consider the following as you think about your final wishes.

An Overview of Catholic Funeral Rites

"At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of Baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist." (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 4).

Church Positions on Cremation

The Church maintains a strong preference for the burial of the bodies of deceased members. Cremation is allowed but not preferred.

Funeral Masses and Cremation

According to the revised funeral rites (Order of Christian Funerals in use since 1989) the Church strongly prefers that cremation take place after the Vigil and full Funeral Liturgy with Mass. The presence of the body most clearly brings to mind the life and death of the person. However, when this is not possible, all the rites usually celebrated with the body present are celebrated in the presence of cremated remains.

Burial of Cremated Remains

The Catholic Church strongly opposes the scattering or the separation of the cremated remains of the faithful, and/or the retention of the cremated remains in the home. Ashes are to be treated with the same respect as the body. The cremated remains—in whole—are to be interred in the ground or placed in a niche in a columbarium. The Rite of Committal should be celebrated at this time, even if time has passed since the funeral liturgy.

Interment in Sacred Ground

The ground in Catholic Cemeteries is consecrated to receive sacred remains. Burial in a Catholic Cemetery recognizes baptismal commitment and gives witness, even in death, to a life of faith.

The Church maintains Catholic Cemeteries because both in life and in death we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8). Just as the faithful have shared and celebrated faith in the community of the Church, so in death their bodies rest with other deceased members of this community, awaiting the day when God will raise their mortal bodies in glory.

Catholic Cemeteries also stand as a sign to the world that even in death, Christians believe in life. The images of the saints in Catholic Cemeteries and mausoleums are not mere decorations; they are a sign of belief in the living communion of the saints.

When burial in a Catholic cemetery is not possible, a blessing of the grave in conjunction with the Rite of Committal is encouraged.

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