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“Let there be light!” The parking lot lighting project is finished, and I hope you agree that it was well done and makes a significant improvement to our parking lot safety and security! Thanks again for all your contributions to this project.
Every few weeks I receive a phone call on the subject of Catholics and cremation and how the Church feels about this practice. To clarify, the Catholic Church has no problem with cremation. Every family has different feelings about this practice, and we respect the wishes of the family. The Church does teach that whether you are cremated or not, the remains of the person should be buried in a sacred place, whether a Catholic or public cemetery, in a container that is buried or placed in a mausoleum. The practice of keeping ashes at home or scattering them on land or sea, even where legal, is inappropriate to the Church’s deep reverence for the body as a place where the soul has resided. Cremains that are placed on the mantel or a bookcase in the home can lead to all sorts of abuse, and I have shared in more than one story of a family who “lost” the urn in a move. For this reason Catholics should be buried upon death, whether their body or cremains.
There are many options when it comes to the funeral mass itself. A family may choose to do the cremation after the traditional wake and funeral mass. They are also free to bring the cremains to church for a memorial mass. You may do the cremation first followed by a burial and have a memorial mass at a later date. You are strongly encouraged to make your wishes known to your family, especially in the case of parents and children. I often find myself in the situation of “referee,” where family members are arguing over “what Mom would have liked.” You can save your children a lot of discomfort and stress by clearly making your wishes known to them.
On a final note, anyone can have a Catholic funeral or prayer service in church. Catholics married to people of other traditions are often confused about this. If your husband or wife is not Catholic and would desire a service here, they are most welcome. The only qualification for a funeral at St. Dominic is that you have died!
If you have any specific questions about cremation or funerals at St. Dominic Church, please feel free to contact me at the parish office.