Fr Alistair will give you every assistance he can in preparing for a funeral for your loved one. Please contact him before you agree any other arrangements, to ensure that your requests can be accommodated.
There is information about Catholic funerals and related matters below.
Funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic are subject to restrictions. This includes limits on the number of people who can attend.
Types of funeral
When we speak of a “funeral”, we may mean one of several things:
Requiem Mass in church followed by either an interment in a local cemetery or a committal at a crematorium
Funeral Service in church without Holy Communion, again followed by interment or cremation
Cremation Service which takes place entirely at the crematorium
Graveside Service which takes place in the cemetery or graveyard, and may, if there are the facilities, make use of the cemetery chapel
After the funeral
There are various “follow-on” events associated with the funeral although celebrated at another time:
Interment of Ashes, following a cremation – usually some weeks later
Blessing of a Headstone or Memorial Plaque once the headstone has been erected or the plaque laid; headstones are usually erected twelve months or so after the burial once the ground has had time to settle
Families will often arrange for a parish Memorial Mass to be celebrated for the person who has died, particularly if the funeral itself was family-only or not a Requiem Mass. An Anniversary Mass to mark the first anniversary of death is also not uncommon.
the Conservation of Ashes
Specific guidance was issued by the Vatican in 2016, addressing some of the practices surrounding the disposal of cremated remains / ashes.
The guiding principles are:
when cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose (§5)
the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted (§6)
the ashes may not be divided among various family members (§6)
it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way (§7)
nor may [the ashes] be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewellery or other objects (§7)
(Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo, 15 August 2016)