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 headstone has been erected or the plaque laid – headstones and 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.
CREMATION AND 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)
You will also want to consult a Funeral Director and there are many good ones locally that can be recommended.
The Parish Office is on 01483 272075 and you can email us by clicking here.
Readings for Funerals are best discussed with the parish clergy but here are some resources that could prove helpful in your preparations.