Diocesan Guidelines Regarding Burial & Cremation

Protocol with regard to Eulogies

CAN. 1176.1 Christ’s faithful who have died are to be given a Church funeral according to the norms of law.

CAN. 1176.2 Church funerals are to be celebrated according to the norms of the liturgical books. In these funeral rites the Church prays for the spiritual support of the dead, it honors their bodies, and at the same time it brings to the living the comfort of hope.

CAN. 1176.3 The church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be restrained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.

DIOCESAN GUIDELINESS

As a general rule, Catholics are to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Some exceptions are:

Ownership in good faith of a grave in a secular cemetery (for example, a convert who had purchased a grave before conversion);

Burial of a veteran in a National cemetery;

When no Catholic cemetery is available; a non-Catholic may be buried in a Catholic cemetery if he or she is a member of a Catholic family, such as party to a mixed marriage or close relative of a Catholic.

CREMATION: Consultation with a parish priest is required before completing arrangements for cremation and burial.

GUIDELINES REGARDING CREMATION

Although cremation is now permitted, Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased. When cremation is chosen for serious reasons, the following guidelines have been promulgated by the Bishop of our diocese.

The body of the deceased should be present for its funeral rites;

When circumstance prevent the presence of the body at the funeral liturgy, it is appropriate that the cremated remains of the body be present for the full course of the funeral rites; place in a worthy vessel on the spot usually occupied by the coffin.

As usual, the funeral liturgy should always be celebrated in a church;

The cremated remains should be reverently buried or entombed in a cemetery or mausoleum. (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 is not in accord with Church practice.)

If at all possible, the place of entombment should be marked with a plaque or stone memorializing the deceased.

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