Catholics and Cremation

Catholics and Cremation

The Church now permits cremation. It is preferred that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites since its physical presence reflects the values affirmed in these rites. After the final commendation at the end of the Mass of Christian Burial, the body is transported to the crematorium for cremation. Through a dispensation granted by the Church, cremated remains may also be present in church for the Mass of Christian Burial, provided that the motives for cremation are not contrary to Church teaching. The priest or liturgical assistant arranging Mass must be informed of the family’s request to allow the cremated remains to be present in order to obtain the permission that is required. Typically, having the cremated remains present for Mass is an exception to be made on an individual basis and is not considered the norm.

Cremated human remains are always to be treated with respect and placed in a worthy vessel. Once funeral rites have been held and the cremation has occurred, the cremated remains are to be brought to the cemetery for final disposition. Scattering cremated remains or keeping them at home is not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.

To encourage the respectful disposition of cremated remains Catholic Cemeteries offer a number of options*:

1. Requests to place cremated remains on top of an existing burial are the exception rather than the norm. In many cases there is not enough depth on top of the existing burial to accommodate the cremation urn.  In other cases there is no room on the existing memorial to add an additional name. The option to place cremated remains over an existing burial is decided on a case by case basis. There are charges for additional burial rights and the interment fee.

2. An adult grave may be purchased for burial of up to three cremated remains.

3. Smaller sized graves with pre-set vaults are available for the burial of cremated remains.

4. Urns may be placed in above ground columbarium niches designed specifically for cremated remains. These columbarium niches are located in the Queen of the Apostles Chapel at Cathedral Cemetery, the garden crypts at All Saints Cemetery and the assorted columbarium at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

5. There are also options to purchase family cremation benches for the entombment of cremated remains.

*Please note: All in-ground burials of cremated remains require a durable sealed container.

Cremated human remains should not be kept in the home or scattered.

Families can arrange for the final disposition of cremated remains by contacting the respective cemetery office. A valid certificate of cremation must accompany the cremated remains. For more information contact Family Services at the cemetery office.