The Catholic Community of St. Thomas More
Table of Contents
A Message from Father Scott
Dear St. Thomas More,
Since the early days of the Church, burial of the dead on the parish grounds near the church has been desirable as it is symbolic of the cycle of life within the church. As pagans practiced cremation, believing that all life for that person had ceased, the early church fathers forbade cremation as a means of affirming our belief in the resurrection of the body. On May 8, 1963, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose the extraordinary choice for cremation, while still recommending the practice of burying the bodies of the faithful. Cremated remains were allowed into the church for the funeral Mass beginning in 1998, however, the Church prefers that the Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass be celebrated in the presence of the body of the deceased prior to its cremation.
Given the sacred dignity of the body, the Church recommends that the custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed to await the Resurrection. As stated above, the extraordinary choice of cremation is now permitted, but it does not enjoy the same value as the burial of the body of the deceased.
The St. Thomas More columbarium is located between the existing church and the new Parish Center. A location near the church for the deceased has been a powerful symbol of our faith since the early church. It is a statement of our ultimate goal to live this life in Christ so that one day, through death, we can share in eternal life with God. It is customary to take the remains of the dead immediately to the place of rest after the funeral Mass for interment. Similarly, the location of the columbarium permits procession immediately following the funeral Mass with the cremains to the columbarium for interment.
Below you will find information regarding the Columbarium here at St. Thomas More. Should you have any questions please contact the parish office.
Rev. Scott E. McCue
What specifically is a columbarium?
A columbarium is an arrangement of openings, either in a mausoleum, a room, or wall, into which an urn or other worthy vessel is placed for permanent memorial. These openings are typically 12 inches square by 12 inches deep and are called “niches.” At St. Thomas More, the columbarium is a walled structure. Initially, approximately 300 niches will be available; however, the current plan calls for more than 1000 niches when the phased construction has been completed. There will also be space dedicated as a memorial wall that will contain plaques for deceased members of family members buried at other locations.
If I choose to be cremated, what are the advantages of choosing the columbarium as opposed to a cemetery?
This is a personal choice. Many people choose to be buried in a columbarium at their church, because of a strong desire to be laid to rest on the grounds of a church that they loved and served. They like the simplicity of the liturgy and want to preserve a nearness to the church and perpetuate a relationship that has been a lifelong pursuit. Those who choose to be placed in a columbarium at the church often are attracted by its religious focus and the nearness to the church. The proximity makes it convenient for visits by loved ones and for periods of meditation and reflection.
Also, the fee for being placed in one of the niches is usually less than the cost of interment in a cemetery. Other factors that may influence your decision to choose internment in a columbarium are concerns about the environment, space available in a cemetery, and the flexibility cremation offers in ceremony planning and in the disposition of the remains. At St. Thomas More, perpetual care of the grounds surrounding the columbarium will be provided tastefully, including liturgies celebrated on All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2).
Where is the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium situated?
St. Thomas More Garden and Columbarium is on the church grounds. The location is between the existing church and the new parish center. The columbarium provides an attractive location for grieving, prayer and meditation. It is close to the church and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel which may also be used for prayer and reflection for the deceased and provides a haven during inclement weather.
My spouse is not a Catholic and I want to be buried with my spouse. Are there any provisions whereby we can be placed in the same niche?
Yes. Each niche holds two urns. Your non-Catholic spouse can have a funeral rite in St. Thomas More Church and then be placed in your columbarium niche. All funeral services, however, will be in accord with Roman Catholic rites. Exceptions require approval of the Pastor.
My family members are buried in another city. Can I remember them at the site of St. Thomas More columbarium?
Yes. Special tableaus will be provided in St. Thomas More’s Memorial Garden and Columbarium. These locations will contain memorial plaques for those loved ones who may be interred elsewhere. The plaques will be inscribed with their names.
Who may be interred in St. Thomas More’s Columbarium?
The columbarium is intended primarily for the use of the parishioners of St. Thomas More Parish.
However, with approval by the Columbarium Committee, the purchaser may inter immediate family members who are not parishioners. However, this is limited to the spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the purchaser. The family members do not have to be Catholic.
May non-parishioners purchase in St. Thomas More’s Columbarium?
A limited number of niches are available for purchase by active and registered Catholics from other parishes, and may be purchased with the agreement of the Columbarium Committee and the approval of the Pastor. There is an increased charge for purchasers who are non-parishioners.
The purchaser may inter only family members, which is limited to the spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the purchaser. The family members do not have to be Catholic. The Pastor must approve any exceptions.
What is the cost of a niche?
The price of a niche in the columbarium is:
The price of one memorial plaque is:
Will these prices ever change?
Yes and no. These are today’s prices and may be raised at any time without notice. However, once you have purchased a niche or a Memorial Plaque, there will be no further charges, even if the price should rise in the future.
What proof will I have that I purchased a niche?
A contract will witness the Right of Inurnment of cremains purchased with the payment of the appropriate fee for a specified niche in the St. Thomas More Columbarium.
A similar contract will be provided for purchase of Memorial Plaques.
I purchased a niche for myself. If I later decide to add another person, can I do so?
Yes, assuming the second person meets the qualifications previously described.
May more than two people be interred in a niche?
No. There is not sufficient space in a niche for more than two urns.
May I supply my own urn?
Yes, but all urns must meet the standards of worthiness set down by the U.S. Bishop’s Committee and will be appropriately sized to fit inside the niche which is typically 12 inches square by 12 inches deep. There will be no reduction in price if urns other than those provided in the cost of the niche are used. The Pastor must approve all exceptions.
What happens if I purchase a niche in the columbarium, then move away?
Upon receipt of your contract for the niche, it is the intent of St. Thomas More Church to provide a refund of your original purchase price, less $100 and incurred expenses, if any, for those who have purchased the Right of Inurnment but no longer plan to exercise this right. However, the Columbarium Committee will decide each case individually based on the “Policy Statement of the Columbarium Committee.”
May I decorate the area near my niche with flowers?
The columbarium site is perpetually maintained in a manner designed to be beautiful, serene, holy and edifying under the direction of the Columbarium Committee. Additional floral arrangements, flags, statues, or other decorations may not be placed on or near a niche or any other location in the Memorial Garden and Columbarium without the written approval of the Columbarium Committee and the written concurrence of the Pastor.
How are niches assigned?
You may choose an available niche at the time of purchase from any section in the columbarium where niches have been installed and made available for inurnment by the Columbarium Committee. If you choose not to select a niche location, the Columbarium Committee will select it for you.
I am interested in purchasing a niche and/or memorial plaque. What is the difference between the two? What is the next step?
A niche is a shelf-like space in the columbarium structure used for the inurnment of cremated remains. Urns are placed in these niches as a final resting place for cremated remains. Two large memorial plaques will also be available in the Garden. These will provide room for over 600 inscriptions of names of deceased immediate family members who are interred elsewhere. These plaques are built into the Garden walls. The next step is to contact the parish office at (919) 942-1040. The staff at the office will arrange for a member of the Columbarium Committee to contact you and provide whatever assistance that you need including a copy of all documentation relating to the Columbarium and available methods of payment.
Upon payment of the appropriate fee, you may choose a niche location. The order of selection will be determined by the order in which each purchase was made in relation to other such purchases. Payment in full for the niche is required to secure a place in the selection process described above. Payment in full must be received before an available niche may be selected from the diagram. To reserve a niche, full payment is required at the time that the contract is signed or, if paying over a 12-month time frame, 50% is required up-front to reserve the niche with the rest of the payments due over the next 11 months.
A similar process will be used for purchase of Memorial Plaques.
A contract for purchase of the Right of Inurnment or a Memorial Plaque will be provided to witness the transaction.
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The Church and the Extraordinary Choice of Cremation
As a Catholic, may I be cremated?
Yes; however, given the sacred dignity of the body, the Church recommends that the custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed to await the Resurrection. Cremation is now permitted, but it does not enjoy the same value as the burial of the body of the deceased. In May, 1963, the Vatican’s Holy office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith) lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation. This permission was incorporated into the revised Code of Canon Law of 1963 as well as into the Order of Christian Funerals. It then became standard practice to celebrate the funeral liturgies with the body and then take the body to the crematorium. Most recently the bishops of the United States and the Holy See have authorized the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with the cremated remains when the body is cremated before the funeral.
Do I need to ask permission to be cremated?
Can I scatter the ashes? May I keep the ashes on my mantle?
No. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. Burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be dropped into the sea.
May anything be added to cremated remains such as cremated remains of other persons, pets, and other objects?
No. The principle of respect for the cremated remains of a deceased Christian embraces the deeper belief in the individuality of each baptized person before God. Throughout history, the mingling of remains has never been an accepted practice, except in extraordinary circumstances.
When should cremation take place?
The Church strongly prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body. The presence of the body most clearly brings to mind the life and death of the person and better expresses the values that the Church affirms in its rites. However, in some circumstances it may not be possible to have the body present. In those situations, a full funeral liturgy may be conducted with the cremated remains present.
Who decides if I am cremated?
In most cases you make the decision to be cremated. However, your survivors may decide to have you cremated, generally due to special family circumstances ….but rarely against your will.
How do I make my wishes known?
If you desire your body to be cremated you can make those wishes known in your will and in documents designed to help plan and prepare your funeral.
Must I honor my parent’s or spouse’s wish for cremation of their body?
Out of respect for loved ones, you will want to do all you can to carry out the wishes of the deceased concerning funeral services provided they are in keeping with Church practice. Yet, you must always keep in mind the therapeutic value to the family of celebrating the full funeral liturgy with the body present. This may significantly outweigh your reasons for cremation before the funeral liturgy.
Is it necessary to embalm?
When cremation follows the funeral liturgy, embalming is usually necessary. When cremation is to follow soon after death, embalming is not necessary. Each state has its own regulations in this matter, but generally the rule is that deceased human body that is not buried or cremated within 24 hours is to be embalmed or refrigerated. However, simple embalming and the use of a cremation casket need not involve excessive costs.
Is it necessary to purchase a casket?
No, it is not necessary to purchase a casket for cremation. The only thing required is a simple container in which the body can be transported and placed in the cremation chamber. If you choose to have the body present for the funeral liturgy, with cremation to follow, rental is an option. Many funeral directors offer regular caskets for rent, as well as the special cremation or shell caskets that you may purchase.
What is the proper container for cremated remains?
Appropriate, worthy containers, such as a classic urn, are proper for the cremated remains. At the present time, the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has determined containers that are not acceptable. Although jewelry, dishes, statuary, and space capsules are examples of designer containers now being offered, they are unacceptable in Catholic funeral practices. It is also unacceptable to have cremated remains made into jewelry, dishes, and the like.
At St. Thomas More, an approved urn will be furnished. It is included in the purchase fee for the columbarium niche. The St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium and St. Thomas More Church are not responsible for any other costs such as funeral home charges, cremation costs, etc.
If I choose cremation, is it necessary to call a funeral home?
Yes and no. In North Carolina, a registered funeral director always performs the embalming of the body (if necessary) and the cremation. However, you are not required to have a viewing of the body at that funeral home.
Can a family member be present at the cremation?
Family members may choose to be present at the initiation of the cremation process. Also, the family can choose to receive the cremated remains at the crematory or some other designated place, such as the church.
How are cremated remains transported?
Transportation of cremated remains is a matter of personal choice. Individuals personally carrying a deceased person’s ashes will often have the added responsibility of packing and transporting the urn. Using the principle of respect for the body, you may wrap the container of cremated remains with the possibility of sending it as accompanying baggage or take it along as carry-on luggage. Ask the airline office or the state’s Department of Public Health for specific information about your region of travel before preparing the cremated remains for transport by air. Where no legal regulations exist regarding transport of cremated remains, most cremationists ship cremated remains in a standard shipping container by U. S. Mail, UPS or other common carrier.
Must cremated remains be buried/entombed?
Yes. Respectful final disposition of cremated remains involves interment or entombment. Burial options include a family grave in a cemetery marked with a traditional memorial stone or an urn garden, a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns. Another choice is to be interred in a columbarium.
What Funeral rites are celebrated when a person is cremated?
The Church strongly prefers that the cremation take place after the full Funeral liturgy with the body. However, when this is not possible, such as when the remains must be transported over a long distance, all the usual rites, which are celebrated with a body present, may also be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. In an appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals, the United States bishops have included prayers to be used when the cremated remains of a loved one are present in church.
The following rituals may be celebrated:
• Prayers After Death
• Gathering in the Presence of the Body
• Vigil for the Deceased
• Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass
• Rite of Committal
Should I schedule a Funeral Mass before or after cremation?
The Church strongly prefers cremations to take place after the Funeral Mass. However, if it is not possible for the body to be present at the Funeral Mass, an indult has been granted by the Holy See which provides for the celebration of the Mass or Funeral liturgy with the cremated remains in church.
Do I need permission to have cremated remains in church for the Funeral liturgy?
The indult granting the diocesan bishops of the United States authority to permit a Funeral liturgy in the presence of cremated remains (in place of the body) requires two things. First, the diocesan bishop must authorize this practice for his diocese. For the Diocese of Raleigh, Bishop Burbidge has already authorized it. Second, each individual case requires approval of the Pastor. Father Durbin has authorized this.
What happens at the Funeral Mass with cremated remains?
A journey, which began at baptism, comes to conclusion as we enter into eternal life. Significant attention should be given to the primary symbols of the Catholic Funeral liturgy, as stated in the Order of Christian Funerals and its commentaries. The paschal candle and sprinkling with holy water are primary symbols of baptism and are used during the Funeral Mass. However, the pall is not used. Photos and other mementos may be used at the vigil, but are not appropriate for the Mass. During the Funeral Mass, the cremated remains should be treated with the same dignity and respect as the body. They are to be sealed in a worthy vessel. They are carried in procession and placed on a table adjacent to the Easter candle.
How much time elapses from the Funeral Mass until the remains are interred in the columbarium?
If the body is present at the Funeral Mass, the funeral director will advise you on the time necessary to cremate the body. Usually, it is a day or two. The internment then follows. If the cremated remains are present at the Funeral Mass, typically interment immediately follows the Mass.
Is a ritual conducted when the remains are interred in the columbarium?
Yes. The Rite of Committal is very similar to the service conducted at a grave site in a cemetery.
Policy for Governing the Use of the Memorial Garden and Columbarium
A. The St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium are primarily for deceased members of St. Thomas More Parish.
B. St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium are the property of the Roman Catholic Church, under the Bishop of Raleigh.
C. All rules for the assignment of niches and memorial plaques will be set by the Columbarium Committee and approved by the Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish.
D. Assignment of niches and memorial plaques will only be given and held for active, registered members or their immediate family members of St. Thomas More Parish at the time of purchase of a niche(s). Or, if available, other people who are active members of the Catholic Church in other parishes will be permitted to purchase niches or memorial plaques in the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Pastor of St. Thomas More Church.
E. Immediate family members are defined as: spouse, children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren regardless of religious preference.
F. The immediate family members may also be memorialized on memorial plaques.
A. The Columbarium Committee is made up of ten (10) members who are registered members of St. Thomas More Parish. The volunteer members, appointed by the Pastor, serve a five year term and may be reappointed to the Columbarium Committee for additional terms. The Committee membership includes: the Pastor, the Parish Administrator (who will serve as Chair of the Committee), the Director of Development, six volunteer members appointed by the pastor, and the staff Columbarium administrator. Initial members may be appointed for two to six years to ensure continuity of membership. No volunteer committee member can serve more than three consecutive terms.
B. The Columbarium Committee is responsible for assisting the Pastor in the administration of the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium in accordance with the requirements of the Diocese of Raleigh and this policy. In addition to the responsibilities specified in this document, the committee may provide recommendations to the Pastor regarding any matter relative to the memorial garden.
C. Annually, at a minimum, the committee establishes and publishes pricing for niches and memorial plaques.
D. The Committee assists in the preparation and submission of an annual budget which the Committee will approve by majority vote. The proposed budget is forwarded to the Pastor for inclusion in the annual budgeting process at St. Thomas More Parish.
E. The Committee provides for and publishes such regulations as are needed for the orderly and appropriate use of the Columbarium and Memorial Garden.
A. A record of the diagram of the St. Thomas More Columbarium and its niches and memorial plaques is maintained by the Columbarium Committee and is available at the administrative office of St. Thomas More Parish. The diagram is kept current on a monthly basis.
B. The vital statistics of all persons who will be or who are inurned in the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium is also be a part of the above record. This information includes the name of the purchaser of the niche or memorial plaques, the name and address of the surviving member(s), birth and death dates, a record of membership in the Catholic Church and the fee paid for the niche and/or plaque.
C. Financial records of the St. Thomas More Columbarium are maintained in the St. Thomas More Parish office and a financial statement for the most current year will be available upon request.
D. A record of the minutes of meetings of the Columbarium Committee will be maintained in the St. Thomas More Parish office.
Reservation of a Niche or Memorial Plaque:
A. A niche or memorial plaque is available upon payment of the fee in effect at the time of payment.
B. The reservation of a niche or memorial plaque and the payment of a fee give the purchaser or the purchaser’s eligible designee (see section 1 for eligibility criteria) the right to be inurned or memorialized but does not convey ownership of any real estate or property to the purchaser or the purchaser’s designee, whether or not they are eligible for inurnment or memorialization.
C. No transfer of a reservation of a columbarium niche or memorial plaque, whether or not payment of the fee has been made, shall be made to another person, estate, corporation or other legal person or entity. However, the Columbarium Committee may repurchase a niche or memorial plaque for just cause. The repurchase price will be the original price paid by the purchaser less: 1) an administrative fee to be set annually by the Columbarium Committee (presently $100) but not to exceed 10% of the purchase price of the niche or memorial plaque; and, 2) any expenses that may have been incurred in the repurchasing process.
D. No refund will be made once an inscription has been cut into the stone.
A. No more than two (2) persons’ cremains may be inurned in one niche. Only two persons’ cremains who are members of the same immediate family may be inurned in one niche. Immediate family members are defined as spouse, children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren. Exceptions to the immediate family rule require the written approval of the Columbarium Committee and the Pastor.
B. If a stone is inscribed for one person, only one person’s cremains may be inurned in the niche for which the stone is the marker. Once inscribed, the stone will not be changed without the approval of the Columbarium Committee and the Pastor.
C. Only the cremains of humans are allowed to be inurned in the columbarium.
A. There will be no opening, closing, inscription or other fees charged by St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium; all such fees are included in the initial fee paid for the right of inurnment or memorialization. Additional costs could be incurred if a replacement stone is required due to a change(s) in inscription(s).
B. With each niche, up to two (2) standard urn(s) will be provided by the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium. The cost of the urns is included in the original fee for the right of inurnment. Another urn(s) which is (are) of appropriate size to fit in the niche and appropriate material and design may be used with the approval of the Columbarium Committee and the Pastor. There will be no reduction in the fee charged for use of the Columbarium if an urn(s) other than those provided by the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium Committee is used.
C. The Columbarium Committee has the responsibility for choosing high quality materials, for maintaining uniformity, and for the procurement of inscriptions.
Columbarium Niche Inscription Content and Style:
A. Inscriptions on the columbarium niches consist of surnames and Christian names and dates of birth and death.
B. Inscriptions are in a style approved by the Columbarium Committee.
C. A printing font is selected by the Columbarium Committee and is used in all niche inscriptions.
Memorial Plaque Inscription Content and Style:
A. Inscriptions on the memorial plaques shall consist of surnames and Christian names.
B. Inscriptions shall be in a style approved by the Columbarium Committee.
C. The same printing font selected by the Columbarium Committee for the niches will be used on all memorial plaques.
Flowers and Decorations:
A. The Columbarium Committee, in cooperation with the St. Thomas More Parish staff, arranges for the maintenance of the Memorial Garden and Columbarium.
B. Nothing of either a permanent or temporary nature shall be affixed to or on the Memorial Garden and Columbarium wall surfaces without the written authorization of the Columbarium Committee.
A. The rites of inurnment will be in keeping with Roman Catholic forms of worship and prescribed by the Pastor. Any exceptions require the approval of the Pastor.
A. The fee at the time when the Right of Inurnment or Right to be Memorialized is executed covers the right to inurnment of cremains (including up to two standard urns for inurnment), church fees for opening and closing of a niche, inscription of the niche stone or memorial plaque, and perpetual care assessment for the Memorial Garden and Columbarium.
B. The St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium and St. Thomas More Church are not responsible for any other costs such as funeral home charge, cremation costs, etc.
A. On occasion, individuals or families may wish to provide additional contributions to the Columbarium for the purpose of adding appropriate furnishings such as seating, art work, or the like. Individuals are encouraged to make monetary contributions as the Columbarium Committee will determine if other contributions are appropriate for inclusion in the Columbarium. The Columbarium Committee is charged with maintaining the Columbarium in accordance with the initial design.
Rite of Inurnment or Right to be Memorialized:
A. For purposes of control and clear understanding, a Right of Inurnment or Right to be Memorialized shall be executed by all involved parties, including a provision granting full authority to St. Thomas More Church to move, remove, relocate, whether temporarily or permanently, memorial plaques and/or niches with cremains.
B. In the unlikely event that moving, removing or relocating memorial plaques and columbarium niches becomes necessary, St. Thomas More Church will endeavor by First Class mail, Return Receipt Requested or other suitable means to notify the families of the deceased or those memorialized of the required move.
C. In the unlikely event that removal and relocation of cremains and/or the memorial plaques becomes necessary, all costs associated with moving the cremains and plaques will be born by the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium and/or St. Thomas More Parish and/or the Diocese of Raleigh.
Allocation of Funds:
A. The cost of the Memorial Garden and Columbarium are paid from fees paid by those who purchase a Right of Inurnment or Right to be Memorialized.
B. Funds received from sales will be used to pay for construction through establishment of a construction fund, for supplies/services (blank plaques, urns, inscription, etc.), and establishment of a perpetual care fund sufficient to cover both normal maintenance expenses and any portion of major damage done to the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium which is not covered by insurance. It is expected that in time the interest earned on perpetual care funds will be sufficient to cover the cost of maintenance and upkeep of the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium for the foreseeable future.
C. It is understood that all of the initial funds are used to pay first for the construction of the initial phase of the St. Thomas More Memorial Garden and Columbarium, the columbarium niches, urns and memorial plaques, the perpetual care fund and future expansion construction funds, in that order.
D. Monies paid into the Memorial Garden and Columbarium may not be lent for use by or for other events or activities whether or not church related.
A. Each year, the Columbarium Committee sets aside a number of columbarium niches and memorial plaques which the pastor can provide at reduced cost, or no cost, based on need.
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Columbarium Niche Contract
View a sample columbarium niche contract.
Memorial Garden Plaque Contract
View a sample memorial garden plaque contract.
General Norms for the Celebration of Roman Catholic Funerals in the Diocese of Raleigh
These Norms will be helpful not only to assist the faithful in preparing the Funeral Rites for the deceased, but also to provide catechesis for the faithful on Christian death and sacred dignity of the human body.
1. The Funeral Rites of the Roman Catholic Church in the Order of Christian Funerals (1997) are celebrations which guide the Catholic community to pray for the deceased as well as those who mourn. These Rites necessarily embrace the death of the deceased, but also lead those gathered in faith by guiding their prayer for the mercy of God upon the deceased and hope for the fullness of God’s Kingdom through the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ. These norms are offered to assist Pastors, Parochial Vicars, Deacons, Pastoral Administrators, and their pastoral staff to assist them in effectively preparing the Funeral Rites for the deceased with family members and friends. The Order of Christian Funerals is the only canonically approved liturgical rite in English for Dioceses in the United States of America. The USCCB has also approved Ritual de Exequias Christianas for the Funeral Rites in Spanish. Liturgical books in other languages must be approved by their proper Episcopal Conferences. Clergy and Ministers serving in communities with diverse languages should take care that they are using the current approved translation of the Latin, Ordo Exsequiarium. These norms are promulgated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh on Divine Mercy Sunday, March 30, 2008 and effective May 11, 2008.
THE CATHOLIC FAITHFUL AND THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH AT THE TIME OF DEATH
2. Every Catholic, unless specifically excluded by the norms of law, has the natural right to receive the ministry of the Church at the time of death.
A. In coordination with the Pastor or Pastoral Administrator and Pastoral Staff, the family of the deceased and the Funeral Director chosen by the family arrange the place and set the time for the Vigil, the Funeral Liturgy and the Rite of Committal.
B. The Funeral Liturgy of Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass is the central element of the prayer of the Church for the dead. The Funeral Liturgy is a prayer for the mercy of God on the deceased and a solace for the living.
C. The Church encourages the burial of Catholics in Catholic cemeteries (Canon 1180 §1). A cemetery may also have a section which has been dedicated for the burial of Catholics. Burial in the consecrated ground of a Catholic cemetery is a sign of baptismal commitment and gives witness, even in death, to faith in the resurrection of Christ.
D. A child who dies before baptism or a stillborn or miscarried child may be given Catholic Funeral Rites if the parents intended to have the child baptized. The remains of fetuses or stillborn children should always receive reverent burial in accord with the Rites of the Church. These remains may be placed either in specific individual graves or in a common burial area.
E. The Order for Christian Funerals provides a complete funeral liturgy for children who have died (OCF, 234-342). The various texts for a baptized child or a child who died before baptism make these rites fully adaptable to various situations, and offer consolation for those suffering the extraordinary grief which comes with the death of a child.
F. Catechumens of the Church may also be given Catholic Funeral Rites.
G. Catholic Funeral Rites, including the Funeral Mass, are also permitted for a deceased baptized non-Catholic who is reasonably presumed to desire the Rites of the Catholic Church. Such a decision may be guided by the regular worship of non-Catholics in the Catholic Church or those who may in some suitable fashion identify themselves with the Catholic Church.
H. To foster and respect the unity of the family, non-Catholic members of Catholic families may be interred in a Catholic cemetery or a cemetery which has section dedicated for the burial of Catholics. With proper approbation from the Pastor, Clergy from ecclesial communities may conduct appropriate cemetery rites for these deceased non-Catholics according to their tradition, if the family so desires or if it was the expressed wish of the deceased.
3. The principal liturgies in the Order of Christian Funerals are the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass, and the Rite of Committal.
VIGIL FOR THE DECEASED
4. The Vigil is often the first time family, friends and members of the parish community gather in remembrance of the deceased for prayer, remembrance, and support. The Vigil may be celebrated in the home of the deceased, in the funeral home, in a suitable place associated with the church building or in the church building.
A. The Vigil for the Deceased is celebrated during the time scheduled for the wake and is the principal rite celebrated by the Church in the time following death and before the Funeral Liturgy. Devotions such as the rosary may also be prayed.
B. The Vigil for the Deceased may provide an opportunity for those unable to attend the Funeral Mass or Rite of Committal to participate in the Funeral Rites.
C. When no Priest or Deacon is available, it is permissible for a qualified lay minister to be designated by the Pastor to preside at the Vigil for the Deceased.
D. After the General Intercessions or at some other suitable time following the Vigil, a family member or a friend may speak in remembrance of the deceased (OCF, 62).
E. When the Vigil for the Deceased is celebrated in a church, a Priest or Deacon is to be vested in an alb, stole and cope. A qualified lay minister who presides wears lay clothing.
F. When a wake takes place in the church, the Vigil for the Deceased with Reception at the Church (OCF, 82) is to be celebrated.
G. In addition to the Vigil for the Deceased Night Prayer from the Office for the Dead, (OCF, Part IV) may be prayed. Morning Prayer from the Office for the Dead may also be prayed on the day of committal.
H. The presence of a Cantor or other music minister at the Vigil for the Deceased can be helpful in leading the people in prayer, particularly in the singing of the Psalms and responses of the liturgy.
FUNERAL LITURGY OF MASS
5. The Funeral Mass is the central liturgy of prayer for deceased Catholics. The family members of the deceased Catholic are to be encouraged to celebrate the Funeral Mass by explanation of its effects for the deceased as well as the faithful who mourn.
A. The Eucharist is the heart of the Paschal reality of Christian death (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1689). In the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church commends the deceased to the mercy of God and most perfectly expresses Her communion with those who have died. The celebration of the Eucharist during the funeral is an opportunity for the community of the faithful, and for the family, to “learn to live in communion with the one who has ‘fallen asleep in the Lord,’ by communicating the Body of Christ of which he is a living member and, then, by praying for him and with him” (CCC, 1689).
B. The Introductory Rites of the Funeral Mass presume a greeting of the mourners who accompany the body of the deceased to the doors of the church. They are greeted by the Priest, liturgical ministers, and other persons who have gathered at the church. Liturgical planning must take into account the structure of the liturgy and the size of the Narthex or Gathering Space, and the architecture of the church.
C. Family members who have accompanied the body to the church but who are infirmed and unable to stand for the blessing of the body are to be seated where the family will be seated following the procession into the church. Parishes are called upon to develop, in collaboration with Funeral Directors, policies which result in seating on both sides of the church and towards the front of the assembly area.
FUNERAL LITURGY OUTSIDE OF MASS
6. A Priest or Deacon is to preside at the Funeral Liturgy when it is celebrated outside of Mass.
A. The Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass (OCF, 177-203) is celebrated when a Mass is not possible or not deemed appropriate. It is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church, but it may also be celebrated in the funeral home, the home of the deceased or cemetery chapel (OCF, 179). The pastoral advice of the Pastor is essential in determining what is appropriate.
B. In an extraordinary circumstance, the family may choose to celebrate a funeral outside of Mass, and schedule a memorial Mass at a later date, when it is determined in consultation with the Pastor or Pastoral Administrator that this form of the Funeral Rites is a more suitable form of celebration.
C. When the funeral liturgy is celebrated outside Mass, the community nonetheless gathers to hear the message of the Paschal Mystery proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Word and to commend the deceased to God.
D. The readings are chosen from among those in the Lectionary approved for Masses for the Dead.
E. Music is a normative element of this form of celebration, which includes the Processional Hymn, the Responsorial Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, the Song of Farewell and the Recessional Hymn.
THE RITE OF COMMITTAL
7. The Rite of Committal is celebrated at the place of burial or interment of the body, but it is not permitted in the church building.
A. The Rite of Committal, whether at an interment chapel, a mausoleum or a cemetery, is a gathering of the faithful for prayer.
B. The place of burial is to be blessed, according to the norms of the law, unless it has already been dedicated as a Catholic cemetery.
C. Military honors and certain cultural or social rites, such as the placement of flowers, are permissible at the cemetery when appropriate. These should be arranged in advance with the Pastor or Pastoral Administrator and coordinated in such a way that they do not disrupt or distract from the integrity of the liturgical Rite of Committal. Funeral Directors may be called upon to assist in the coordination of these elements.
D. If a lengthy time has passed since the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy, or if the funeral has been conducted overseas or in a distant state, the Final Commendation may be added to the Rite of Committal (OCF, 224-233).
LITURGICAL MINISTRIES IN FUNERAL LITURGIES
8. In keeping with the norms found in the Order of Christian Funerals, Priests and Deacons are to share in the responsibility for planning and implementation of the funeral liturgies together with qualified parish lay pastoral ministers.
A. A pastoral visit to the family by the Priest or Deacon celebrating the funeral liturgies is normative and part of the ministry and presence of the Church prior to these celebrations.
B. Part of this ministry of the Priest to the grieving family members may also include the celebration the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This may be appropriate when family members have not actively participated in the life of the Church for some time.
C. Preparation of each Funeral Liturgy can assist in the consolation of the family members and friends who are in mourning. Priests, Deacons and/or qualified lay pastoral ministers are to assist in this planning process with final approval of the liturgy plan by the Pastor or Pastoral Administrator in consultation with the Presider for the liturgy. The Order of Christian Funerals states that family members may participate in liturgical ministry where appropriate (OCF, 15). The family of the deceased may also suggest persons to place the pall or appropriate Christian symbols on the casket at the reception of the body at the doors of the church. Note: Only Christian symbols are to be placed on the casket, such as the Bible or Crucifix of the deceased. The family may also choose those who will participate in the offertory procession of bread and wine for the Funeral Mass (OCF, 152).
D. Priests are to preside at the Funeral Rites, especially the Mass. The celebration of the funeral liturgies is especially entrusted to the Pastor or Parochial Vicar. When no Priest is available, Deacons, preside at Funeral Rites. When no Priest or Deacon is available for the Vigil or the Rite of Committal, a qualified lay minister may preside at this Rite (OCF, 14).
E. Participation of the lay faithful as liturgical ministers is encouraged, where appropriate in the celebration of the various liturgies of the Order of Christian Funerals. These ministries may include Readers, Cantors, Musicians, Ushers, Pallbearers and, according to existing norms, as Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion (OCF, 15).
F. Music selected for the Order of Christian Funerals should be appropriate for Catholic liturgical prayer. The texts of the music should be expressive of the Paschal Mystery: the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.
MUSIC IN THE FUNERAL LITURGY
9. It is the pastoral responsibility of parishes to provide liturgical music at all Funeral Masses. The same liturgical norms applied to music at Mass apply to a Funeral Mass.
A. An instrumentalist, preferably an Organist; a Cantor, and even a Choir where possible should assist the full participation of the assembly in the hymns, responses, and acclamations of the Funeral Rites (OCF, 33). The Funeral Choir is often composed of those parishioners who are retired, self-employed, or whose work gives them a flexibility of schedule in order to serve in this ministry.
B. Certain musical texts of the Funeral Rite are primary and should be sung at the Funeral Mass. They include: the Responsorial Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation, the Great Amen, the Communion Hymn for Song, and the Song of Farewell. These should be sung by the assembly rather than by a cantor, choir, or soloist alone.
C. In the Order of Christian Funerals, the Cantor leads the assembly in song. With the exception of the Responsorial Psalm, which is sung from the Ambo, the Cantor ordinarily leads the assembly from a Cantor Stand.
D. Some form of hymnal or worship program is preferable to assist the participation of the assembly. This program should contain the name of the deceased, the scripture citations for the Liturgy of the Word, and words and music for the liturgy. Certain musical texts of the Funeral Rite are primary and should be sung at the Funeral Mass. Copyright licenses and permissions are necessary, and many parishes have found annual licenses to be both convenient and inexpensive. A separate sheet may be prepared for the participation of the faithful in the Rite of Committal at the cemetery.
E. The selection of music for the funeral liturgy is often a sensitive issue for bereaved families, parish musicians, and pastoral staff. The choice of music for Catholic funerals must be in accord with all the norms governing music in liturgy, especially those found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Redemptionis Sacramentum, the Order for Christian Funerals, and Sing to the Lord (110-114).
F. The Principle of Progressive Solemnity, described in Music in Catholic Worship, applies to the rites found in the Order of Christian Funerals. Application of this principle to the choice of music may be guided by common musical repertoire of the assembly.
G. The request for popular secular music is not to substitute for the music of the Funeral Liturgy. There are three standards of judgment proposed in Sing to the Lord: 1) the text of the music, the form, the placement and style must be congruent with the nature of the Catholic liturgy (STTL, 126-129); 2) the music must be technically, aesthetically and expressively appropriate irrespective of musical idiom or style (STTL, 134-136); 3) the music must assist in the prayer of the assembly (STTL, 130-133). The application of such a standard is suggested as an effective pastoral means to guide the appropriate selection of music for the funeral liturgy.
H. As music is a preeminent expression of the prayer of the participants in any liturgy, recorded music is not to be used within the liturgy to replace the Congregation, the Choir, the Organist, the Cantor, or other musicians (STTL, 94).
THE HOMILY AND THE APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR A EULOGY
10. Only a Priest or Deacon may give the Homily during the Funeral Rites. Qualified lay ministers may give an instruction on the readings in accord with liturgical norms and OCF, 27.
11. The Homily is to join the death of the deceased to the Paschal Mystery of Christ. It is to include the reality of the need for the Mercy of God, speak of the hope of eternal life, and avoid the presumption that the deceased now enjoys the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven.
12. Excellence in preaching is of critical importance to evangelization, especially at a moment when the faithful who live apart from the regular life of the Church may yearn for a message of faith and Christian hope.
13. A eulogy is not to be given where a Homily is prescribed (OCF, 27), although examples from the life of the deceased may be used by the Priest or Deacon in the Homily. The literary genre of eulogy is not a homiletic form. Rather, the Homily is to “illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ” (CCC, 1688) as proclaimed in the readings from Sacred Scripture.
14. The Vigil for the Deceased is a more fitting time for individuals to give a eulogy to share remembrances of the deceased. Often, one or more speakers are chosen by the family. The remarks are to be simple, brief, and prepared, with the tone remaining one of faith and hope.
15. Although more ample opportunities are possible at the Vigil for the Deceased, a eulogy of no longer than three to five minutes may given by one person and take place at Funeral Mass after the Prayer After Communion or at a Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass after the General Intercessions. The remarks are to be simple, brief, and prepared, with the tone remaining one of faith and hope.
GENERAL PARTICIPATION OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY INTRODUCTION
16. The Corporal Works of Mercy are a ministry of consolation which belong to the entire parish community, especially those involved in the pastoral care the dead and comfort to those who mourn.
A. Regular catechesis is encouraged to help parishioners understand their role in ministering to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
B. Parish policies, procedures and ministerial resources are to be developed and communicated clearly to parishioners so they may take full advantage of these resources at the time of death.
C. Funeral Directors provide an invaluable service to families and to the Church. Often a Funeral Director is the first response to a family who has experienced the death of a loved one. It is important for the Parish Pastoral Staff and local Funeral Directors to cultivate an attitude of mutual respect and effective collaboration. Pastors, Pastoral Administrators, and Parish lay Pastoral Ministers should have a good working relationship with local Funeral Directors. Funeral Directors should be encouraged to study of the Order of Christian Funerals as part of their regular in-service training.
17. The establishment of a Bereavement Ministry is encouraged for every parish in the Diocese of Raleigh.
A. Bereavement Ministry is a part of the ministry of the Church and an expression of the Corporal Works of Mercy: “Those who are baptized into Christ and nourished at the same table of the Lord are to be responsible for each other” (OCF, 8). This ministry of charity, attending to the ill, the dead, and those in mourning, is a call to all of the faithful. This includes prayer for the dead and may include the offering of a meal following the Funeral Rites to those in mourning. The faithful are to be instructed and given example by the Clergy and lay Parish Pastoral Ministers of how to exercise this care.
B. Bereavement Ministry necessarily extends itself beyond the conclusion of the Funeral Rites to include the days and weeks after burial when those who mourn remain in particular need of the ministry of the Church.
SCHEDULING FUNERAL LITURGIES
18. Each Parish should have a clear policy on how to schedule a Funeral Liturgy so that it may be communicated to parishioners and local Funeral Directors. While local policy should take into account the availability of the Priest or Deacon, the daily Mass schedule of the parish, the Parish School schedule (if applicable), and other parish events. Above all, sensitivity to the grieving family should be paramount in scheduling the Funeral Liturgy.
19. If the Funeral Mass is celebrated in the evening, a sufficient length of time should separate it from the celebration of the Vigil for the Deceased. The schedule for the Rite of Committal, ordinarily the next day, should be announced and the faithful invited to reconvene at that time.
20. The Vigil for the Deceased should be celebrated at a convenient time. The time may be published in the newspaper obituary notice.
21. Funeral Directors are asked to respect the correct names of the various liturgical rites in written obituary notices. Proper terms such as “Vigil for the Deceased”, “Funeral Mass”, “Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass”, and “Rite of Committal” are encouraged. Funeral Directors are also encouraged to verify the correct name of the Clergy who will be presiding at the Funeral Rites.
22. Funeral Masses are not celebrated on solemnities of obligation, on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, or on the Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Easter Season. At a Funeral Mass celebrated on Ash Wednesday, ashes are not to be distributed.
23. The celebration of the Funeral Rites of the Church are an expression of the Corporal Works of Mercy. Because of the value of this pastoral ministry the parish is discouraged from assessing any fee. If an offering is accepted it is to be placed in the general parish account or used as restricted funds as designated by the family of the deceased.
24. The offering on the occasion of a funeral does not include the professional fees for the Organist, Cantor, or other support services, unless this is part of the employment agreement for the professional musicians. Fees for musicians should be established on the parish level by the Pastor in consultation with the musicians involved and are not to be collected on the day of the funeral liturgy. Each parish is to have a plan for assisting families with financial hardship. Priests and Deacons whose responsibilities include the spiritual care of patients or residents at various institutions and hospitals may extend the ministry of burial of the poor when the deceased has no relatives to make such an arrangement. Funeral Directors should be informed that no offering is expected from the poor or those unable to afford an offering.
25. Should funds be given to the parish in memory of the deceased by those outside the immediate family, an address list of donors is to be provided to the family so that they may offer their gratitude as they deem appropriate.
THE PLACEMENT OF THE FLAG AND PERSONAL MEMORABILIA
26. For Funeral Masses with military honors for United States military personnel, active duty or retired, it is customary that the casket enter and exit the church draped in the flag of the United States. The flag is removed upon entry so that the casket may be sprinkled with holy water and the pall placed for the Funeral Liturgy as a reminder of the baptism of the deceased. At the end of the liturgy recessional, the pall is removed and the flag is once again draped over the casket.
27. Personal memorabilia, such as pictures or cards, are often requested to be present during the Funeral Rites as a reminder of the deceased or as a means to express affection. For liturgies celebrated inside the church building, the proper place for such memorabilia is in the Narthex or Gathering Space so as not to draw attention away from the primary signs and actions of Catholic liturgical worship such as the paschal candle, altar, the ambo, and the celebration of Holy Eucharist.
CREMATION AND THE USE OF COLUMBARIA
THE SACRED DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN BODY
28. Man is the living image of God, God’s creation and the minister of His plan (Evangelium Vitae, 52). Having been immersed into the sacramental grace of Baptism, Man is given the way to perfect this ministry when in Christ the human body becomes a temple of Holy Spirit. When someone dies, we are reminded of each way that the deceased carried out the ministry of God’s plan though the gift of the body. The body of the deceased is one that having been fed by the Word and by Sacraments, communicated gestures of faith, hope, kindness, compassion as well as courage in the face of great adversity.
29. The body is also a visible reminder to us of the bonds of family and the expressions of friendship which are irreversibly bound to this person now deceased (OCF Appendix Cremation, 411). In addition, having known the reality of sin and the struggle of the deceased to be faithful to God we may also be reminded of how God’s mercy was present in life to assist the deceased in the struggle with sin and the way of conversion unto salvation.
31. It is because of the entirety of God’s action in human life, from its beginning at the moment of conception to its end in natural death that the Church assigns great reverence to the body of one who has died.
A PREFERENCE FOR THE PRESENCE OF THE BODY
32. The reverence by the Church for the human body in death extends to the Funeral Rites. The body is once again sprinkled with baptismal holy water, recalling how the deceased was immersed into the death and new Life of Christ. The body is then clothed with the funeral pall, a reminder of how the deceased was clothed with the new Life of Christ and hope for the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven. The body of the deceased is then brought into the assembly where one can visibly be reminded of all of the human gestures which bound the deceased to us in life and where we are prompted to pray for God’s mercy for the deceased person that they may now know the fullness of God.
THE EXTRAORDINARY CHOICE OF CREMATION
33. Given the sacred dignity of the body, the Church recommends that the custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed to await the Resurrection. Cremation is now permitted, but it does not enjoy the same value as the burial of the body of the deceased (OCF Appendix Cremation, 413). This value is the aforementioned signs of the Funeral Rites which seek to visibly connect the deceased to the action of God throughout the entirety of their life, their death, and in Christ their eternal Life with God. Such value is certainly less possible with the non-descript character of cremated remains. It is for this reason that cremation of the body is an extraordinary choice.
34. Should the choice for cremation be made, it is made only as long as it has not been chosen for reasons contrary to Catholic teaching (Canon 1176 §3, CCC, 2301). When cremation of the body is the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be given by the Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Administrators, and other lay pastoral ministers who attend to the family and friends of the deceased (OCF Appendix Cremation, 415).
A. If the extraordinary choice for cremation has been made, it is preferred that the Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass be celebrated in the presence of the body of the deceased prior to its cremation. (OCF Appendix Cremation, 411-438).
B. Given the significance of having the body of the deceased present for the Funeral Liturgy, when arrangements involving cremation are being made, the Priest, Deacon, Pastoral Administrator or lay pastoral minister is to recommend that: a) following a wake, the Funeral Liturgy be celebrated in the presence of the body of the deceased person, and that following the Funeral Liturgy, the body of the deceased be cremated; b) the Funeral Mass conclude with the Final Commendation in the church; C) at an appropriate time, usually some days later, the family gather at the cemetery for the burial of the cremated remains. The Rite of Committal takes place at this time with the inclusion of the proper prayers for the committal of ashes (OCF, 406.3).
C. If cremation has already taken place before the Funeral Liturgy, the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy may take place in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased person. The cremated remains of the body are to be placed in a worthy vessel. A small table or stand is to be prepared for the cremated remains at the place normally occupied by the casket. The funeral urn may be carried to its place in the entrance procession or placed on this table sometime before the liturgy begins.
D. Special circumstances occur, such as health concerns or out-of-state or overseas transport, which may prompt families to arrange for cremation before making funeral arrangements. If cremation has taken place, the Priest, Deacon, Pastoral Administrator, or lay pastoral minister is to recommend: a) a gathering with family and friends for prayer and remembrance of the deceased; b) the celebration of a Funeral Liturgy; C) the gathering with family and friends for the interment of cremated remains at the cemetery for the Rite of Committal.
E. Cremated remains are to be treated with the same dignity afforded to the body of the deceased, and should be entombed or buried, whether in the ground or at sea.
F. The scattering of cremated remains on the ground or on the sea or keeping any portion of them for personal reasons is not reverent to the sacred dignity of human remains and therefore not permitted. It should be noted that burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be placed into the sea.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF COLUMBARIA
35. Given the extraordinary choice of some of the faithful for cremation, the Parish may choose to construct a Columbarium on parish grounds. Such construction is not to be an expression of the ordinary disposition for the remains of the deceased. Catechesis must be provided to the faithful in the Parish as to the sacred dignity of the body and the value which the Church assigns to the body in the Funeral Rites. This catechesis must also include references and contact information for local Catholic cemeteries, local cemeteries with a dedicated Catholic section, or other appropriate local cemeteries where burial of the body of the deceased may take place.
A. When a Parish chooses to construct a Columbarium, a proposal must be presented to the Diocesan Building and Real Estate Commission for approval of its construction in keeping with the Master Site Plan for the Parish. The Columbarium must be located on the Parish grounds so as to allow adequate privacy for prayer for the deceased and the consolation of God for those who mourn. The site location must also be one of dignity on the Parish grounds so as to communicate the reverence the Church affords to the deceased. The site must also be close to the Parish church building so as to provide ease of access from the church following a Funeral Liturgy.
B. Detailed construction plans must also be presented to the Diocesan Building and Real Estate Commission for approval. The construction materials must be of noble and lasting character, such as marble or granite. A provider for prefabricated Columbaria may be consulted for products which may best complement the design of the extant Parish buildings.
C. Legal forms for the right of burial in the niches of the Columbarium must be developed by the Parish and submitted to the Diocesan Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer for approval prior to the sale on any niches.
D. As part of the purchase for the right of burial, the Parish may decide to standardize the burial urns to allow for proper placement of the cremated remains within the Columbarium.
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Engraving Examples for Niches and Memorial Plaques
Registered member of St. Thomas More
Certificate of Burial Rights
The document by which the Cemetery conveys a right of interment, entombment or inurnment for burial space. It is in effect a receipt for full payment and describes location of and extent of easement rights for burial.
A structure or arrangement of niches, either inside or outside with solid (granite or marble) or glass fronts, for in inurnment of cremated remains. Some niches are designed to accommodate two cremation urns.
A shortened, elided version of cremated remains.
The bone fragments (six to eight pounds for an average adult) that are left after the cremation process. Cremation does not result in ashes as much as small bone fragments which can subsequently be pulverized into a coarse powder.
The reduction, through extreme heat and evaporation, of the human body to its basic elements. Cremation is a means of preparing the human body for disposition and memorialization. State governments consider cremation to be final disposition of a human person, but the Roman Catholic Church does not.
An establishment containing a furnace (called a retort) used for the cremation of human remains. A crematory may be owned by or deal directly only with funeral homes, or may have open access to the public. Also called a crematorium.
The transfer of a body from the place of death to the funeral home. It is in a casket and then delivered directly to the burial site without public viewing or services. This practice is discouraged in Catholic parishes and cemeteries according to the preference and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
The transfer of a body from the place of death to the funeral home. It is placed in a container and delivered directly to a crematory without public viewing. Services may or may not be held afterward. This practice is discouraged in Catholic parishes and cemeteries by the preference and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
The removal of human remains from a crypt for the purpose of burial in another location.
The placement of the body in a casket above ground in a mausoleum crypt.
Special exception granted by the Diocese for the body not be present at the funeral
To bury a body or cremated remains in the earth or above ground.
The act of burial
Those services involved in preparing the interment site for use. Generally includes such items as opening and closing the burial site, staffing and administration, establishment and maintenance of permanent burial records and the use of necessary equipment, facilities and accessories.
Inurnment of Cremains
The placement of cremated remains in a grave, crypt or niche, usually after being placed in an urn.
A shelf-like space in a mausoleum or columbarium structure used for the inurnment of cremated remains. Urns are placed in these niches as a final resting place for cremated remains. Niches come in different sizes and front materials. Urns should be sized to fit inside the typical niche.
The maintenance of the Columbarium and Memorial Garden grounds to include the lawn, flowers and granite.
The selection and payment of interment rights, cemetery services and products before the time of death.
An individual who arranges for funeral goods, funeral services, burial site goods, or burial site services prior to the death of that individual or another individual, and who funds those goods or services through prepayment to a funeral provider or through purchase of an insurance policy.
Rite of Committal
The prayer service that concludes the Order of Christian Funerals, following the Vigil and the Mass of Christian Burial. It completes a journey that began at birth and a journey that began at the deathbed. Also called the Rite of Committal, it takes place at the cemetery at the place of burial (grave, crypt or niche) or in a chapel.
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