Cremation and Christian Burial Mass....how does that work?


#1

What would the usual or proper way for a Catholic funeral to work if the remains are cremated?

Would the cremated remains be present for the funeral Mass or would the body have to be cremated after the Mass?


#2

I believe the body has to be present at the Mass, prior to cremation. I’m not 100% certain on this however, but this has been the case of two funerals that I attended, where the deceased was in a cardboard coffin, prior to being taken for cremation. The entire coffin with the body was put into the furnace.

On a side note, I was shocked to learn, that its no cheaper than a conventional funeral.

Jim


#3

The way we handled this with my parents was we had the funeral Masses with the body present in the casket. The body was then cremated before being transported to another state for burial and a memorial Mass.


#4

Really? So that kind of defeats the whole purpose of being cremated, doesn’t it?

It’s still cheaper than buying a full burial plot and burial costs, though, right? Or are burial costs the same for cremated remains?


#5

Well like I said, I was shocked because I felt like you, I thought one of the purposes for cremation was that it was cheaper.

Such was not the case. Also, the Catholic Church prohibits the spreading of the ashes up the ground or into the sea. They must remain together in a proper vessel. In the three cases I had experience with, the urns were buried at the cemetery in a plot, just like everyone else, except the vault is smaller.

Jim


#6

Well I guess I won’t tell DH to just cremate me then. :slight_smile: So much for that idea.

I’ve been thinking lately that DH and I need to have this conversation if something were to happen to one of us. I need to tell him exactly what I want done as a Catholic, because he wouldn’t know to do otherwise.


#7

While the Church prefers to have the body present and cremation after the funeral, it’s not obligatory to do it that way. A funeral Mass can be celebrated in the presence of cremated remains. I don’t know about the US, but in Canada the rite is exactly the same except that the prayers do not refer to the ‘body’.

usccb.org/liturgy/current/cremation.shtml


#8

Well my wife and myself have discussed this as well.

I told my wife, I do not want to be embalmed. I figure I have a good chance at incorruptibility, and I don’t want anything negating the miracle. :smiley:

Jim


#9

Lol…


#10

Interesting but, I think the following reason would make cremation a good idea.

When crossing State lines there are no concerns with cremains whereas with a body there is, not only that but you can carry on the cremains as part of your personal belongings so you don’t have to worry about your family member being lost in the shuffle or you can just drive with them in the car with you. We had our baby cremated so we could take her back to ND to be buried with one of her great-grandpas - so for us, it probably was cheaper in the long run - especially since the funeral home people donated their time and the use of their facilities for a local memorial for her, all we paid for was the cremation itself and we didn’t need to pay for a burial plot because she was buried above a Great Grandpa (this is allowed in most cemeteries for infants).

I would only want my body cremated if:

  1. it were indeed less expensive to do so
    and/or
  2. land was at a premium for the living and my cremains would use less to be buried.

I need to talk to my daughter’s and husband about this. I know I have mentioned that whatever costs the least amount of money to do is what I want them to do for my body but that it must all be buried in the same place (whether cremated or whole).

Brenda V.


#11

The funeral costs don’t change much. However for us it significantly reduced the cost of transporting the body from one state to another for burial.


#12

Money is definitely saved with a cremation.

If there is a viewing, you only have to rent a casket instead of buying one.

Also, opening a grave for a box of ashes is a lot less work than opening it for a casket. Its possible to put two boxes into a single grave as well.


#13

It is also possible to put to caskets in a single plot.
You just have to wait a certain amount of years between burials!


#14

My BIL’s wife and my FIL were both cremated, and so was a friend of the family… it saved a LOT of money, especially since, when we bought our properties seven years ago, we selected a site on my BIL’s land (his parcel was the largest) where we said we would have our family burial plot. In order to do that, cremation was the way to go, since state law would require a WHOLE lot of paperwork and Heaven-only-knows-what-else to bury an embalmed body in a casket on private property. The friend’s family buried him at the foot of his son’s grave in the church cemetery (no additional charge… his other sons did the digging) We had funeral Masses in all three instances, with the cremains in the leather case provided by the funeral home, a crucifix on top of the box, and a photo of the deceased all set up on a table before the altar.

My husband asked me what I wanted when my time came. At first I just said, “I don’t know… surprise me!” Then when cremation became the designated “way to go” in our family, I told him to just stamp “Return to Sender” on the parcel, drop me in the blessed ground behind his brother’s house and away I go!

Do NOT, I told him, under any circumstances stick me in a WalMart jewelry box and return me to the store (ya’ll heard THAT story a few years ago, didn’t you?) I’ve worked at WalMart for nine years now, I DON’T wish to spend eternity in the claims department!


#15

I’ve been to a couple Catholic funeral masses for someone who was cremated (one was yesterday) before the Mass. According to this site -

…On March 21, 1997, this changed. The Vatican granted permission for the cremated remains of a body to be brought into church for the liturgical rites of burial. It is still, however, the Church’s preference to have the full compliment of funeral rites take place with the body present and then have cremation afterwards.

In the case of the one yesterday (my great-aunt), it was in a chapel in a huge retirement home complex. I don’t think having people see 1 to 3 caskets a day (there’s thousands of elderly people living there - there’s actually a waiting list to use the chapel - less than a week, fortunately)… that would be kind of depressing.

No. :shrug: :confused:


#16

It’s cheaper. The cost for the actual cremation combined with that of a bone chamber or columbarium is less than that of a plot. At least where I come from.


#17

Okay, the “Wal*Mart cremation story”…

A few years back there was a story (we heard this at our morning meeting) going round that a woman received a lovely wooden jewelry box in the mail from her brother (or sister, can’t remember all the details). When she took it out of the box, she saw at once that it had been damaged (a leg or knob was broken) and so she put it back in the box (without actually opening the jewelry box) and took it to her nearest Wal*Mart to exchange it. Then that evening she called her sibling to thank them for the gift and mentioned that it had arrived damaged, but not to worry, she managed to get it exchanged.

After a moment of stunned silence, sibling cried, “But Mom’s ASHES were in that box!”

I had turned to a fellow co-worker when I heard that story and said, “That would be MY luck… to end up in the claims department of Wal*mart for all eternity!” She very graciously said that she didn’t think I deserved hell!

Another cremation story:

A friend of mine once complained to me that she was having trouble with the neighbor’s cats. They were coming into her flower garden (her pride and joy) and digging it up and doing their business in it. Then a few minutes later, we were talking about funeral arrangements and she said she wanted to be cremated and, because she loved gardening so much, she wanted her ashes scattered in her flower garden.

I said, “You want the neighbor’s cats to use YOU as a litter box?”

She now wants her ashes entombed in a columbarium. Cats can’t get to her that way.


#18

No idea…i have knowledge about body liquefaction…but you can covert ashes into funeral urns


#19

This thread is over four years old, and has been dormant since December 2, 2007.


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