Funeral Rites

While our cemeteries are open to those of any faith or background, Catholic funeral rites are a particular and beautiful part of our work. If you are Catholic, or seeking burial for a Catholic loved one, learn more about the rites and get answers to frequently asked questions below.

Why are Catholic
Funeral Rites important?

Each person, without exception, is made in the image and likeness of God. As such, they deserve to be treated with respect in body and soul. In Catholic Funeral Rites, the Church comes together to pray for the deceased and to entrust them to the love of God. The Church also sits with those who grieve and offers them the hope of Christ’s resurrection.

Before the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus wept (John 11:35). It is this same Jesus who comes to comfort those who mourn. He understands grief, and he is there with us amidst it. Through the Funeral Rites, we encounter his peace, and can find rest in him.

Catholic Funeral Rites

There are three parts to Catholic Funeral Rites: The Vigil, the Funeral
Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal.
Always on My Mind, Forever in My Heart.

1. The Vigil (Wake)

The Vigil takes place prior to the funeral mass, sometimes days before. This is a time for people to visit the departed loved one, to pray for the person together as a community, and to commemorate his or her life.
The Vigil may include a Service of the Word, with readings from the Sacred Scriptures, or special prayers for the deceased. This is also an excellent time to share a eulogy.

2. The Funeral Liturgy

In the Funeral Liturgy, the Church joins with friends and family to pray for the deceased, usually through the celebration of the Funeral Mass. Though we are grieving, the celebration of the Funeral is a special opportunity to remember Jesus’ triumph over sin and death, and the new life he has brought us through his resurrection. The Church knows that death is not the end; we trust in the promise and love of God.

In the Holy Mass, we lift our hearts, though heavy, to God, and receive strength and comfort through the Holy Eucharist. If you are not Catholic or are Catholic but have not received your First Communion, know that you are most welcome at the Funeral Mass. When it comes time for Communion, cross your arms over your chest and the priest will give you a blessing.

3. The Rite of Committal
(Burial, Interment)

In this final part of the rites, we pray for the deceased and commend them one last time to God.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Catholics may be cremated. Cremation was once prohibited as it was sometimes done as a statement against Church teachings. Today, cremation is chosen for various reasons, including financial and ecological ones. So long as the body is treated with respect, the ashes are fully interred or entombed, and the cremation is not done as a statement against Church teachings or the resurrection, there is no issue with cremation for Catholics.

Yes, you can bury a non-catholic in a Catholic cemetery.

A Catholic Cemetery is consecrated by a Bishop and is a ministry of the Catholic Church. They are considered sacred places and are a reminder of the Lord’s promise of resurrection.

Catholics have been permitted to be cremated since 1963. The only rule is that the remains should be treated with respect, and scattering of ashes is not permitted.