Catholic Cremation and Burial

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo on October 25, 2016 regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation. The full text is available in both English and Spanish.

Why choose a permanent burial site for cremated remains?

Wherever the cremated remains go initially, the decision NOT to commit them to a permanent burial location can have many unintended and far-reaching effects over the years and generations to come. Before you make an irreversible decision, please consider the impact this decision may have on your life and the lives of others – some of whom have not yet been born.

Consequences of No Burial Benefits of Permanent Burial
At the time of death, one family member takes possession of the cremated remains, to the exclusion of all others. All friends and family members have a special place to visit and remember.
The cremated remains are scattered, buried in the back yard, separated into jewelry, left in a closet or on a shelf.  Eventually, many friends and family members do not even know where the cremated remains are. Friends and family can visit, pray, bring flowers or make dedications in honor of a birthday, anniversary or any special occasion.
As the family changes through birth, death and divorce, control of the cremated remains may change over the years. All friends and family members can visit a neutral location without anyone else’s knowledge or permission.
Property ownership may also change.  If the land where the cremated remains are buried or scattered is sold, then visitation may no longer be possible. Cemeteries will always be there, open to visitations by one and all.
As the next generation grows up, they will one day ask about those who came before them.  At some point, no one will remember where their cremated remains are or when they lived. Grave markers will always provide a permanent record of your loved one’s life, with their name and brief history for all to see.

The wisdom of our Church, as Mother, calls for cremated remains to be treated with the dignity and respect which the body of our dear departed deserves for they are “also the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation and fed with the Bread of Life.” (Order of Christian Funerals 411)

Doesn’t your loved one deserve the dignity and respect of a permanent burial site?

The cemetery you select will be a central place for you and the family and friends of your loved one to gather in prayer and remembrance.

Whether the cremation took place last week or ten years ago, now is the time and opportunity to arrange for the Catholic burial of your loved one.  Contact a Catholic Parish Community who will honor the opportunity and privilege to pray with you as you lay your loved one to rest.