Catholic Burial ground?


I am a convert, and my wife is not. I know very little of burial, having avoided the subject assiduously until my father-in-law recently died, so I don’t know much about what the Church has to say about burial ground. Is it OK for a Roman Catholic to be buried in a cemetary that is not specifically Catholic? Is there a rite that can be performed to consecrate such land? My wife’s family has an extra plot to plant me in (I am NOT going to go into why they have that planned out for me already, sheesh!), but I am unsure of the procedure of all of this. Any help or reading to be suggested would be appreciated. I have looked in the Catechism but it doesn’t seem to be very helpful on this topic.


Chuck Hagen


*Code of Canon Law * (CIC) directs the Church to have its own cemeteries where possible but also provides for the blessing of designated areas and even individual sites in civil cemeteries. “Where possible, the Church is to have its own cemeteries or at least areas in civil cemeteries that are designated for the deceased members of the faithful and properly blessed. If this cannot be achieved, however, then individual graves are to be properly blessed” (CIC 1240 §1-2).

Additionally, canon law allows choice in the matter of selecting a grave site. “If a parish has its own cemetery, the deceased members of the faithful must be buried in it unless the deceased or those competent to take care of the burial of the deceased have chosen another cemetery legitimately. Everyone, however, is permitted to choose the cemetery of burial unless prohibited by law” (CIC 1180 §1-2).

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