Funeral and flowers

What is the Catholic position on flowers at a Funeral Mass? :shrug:

I have heard conflicting ideas and just wondered if anyone knew the official position.

Some quick sources I have pulled up from a search query on the internet.

Flowers are usually welcomed and appreciated. For deliveries to the church, please confirm details with the parish, as practices may vary with regard to casket sprays, where flowers may be displayed, etc.


It is appropriate then that there is some gesture of farewell, which will help you to feel that you have done all you can do for your dead and give you a sense of conclusion. Some people wish to place flowers on the casket, others earth, or some may even wish to fill in the grave.

Fresh flowers, used in moderation, can enhance the setting of the funeral rites.


Flowers represent soul and virtue and serve as a means to express sympathy for the deceased. They play a significant role in a Catholic funeral. Some flowers and arrangements have a preference over others as they are considered to have special importance. For example, circular-shaped flower wreaths are considered to symbolize eternal life, and soft pastels are usually considered appropriate if the deceased is an infant or a child. Whether attending a funeral or arranging one for your loved one, seek suggestions from a professional florist regarding funeral flower etiquette.


While the moderate use of flowers is currently allowed, they were at one time prohibited. Msgr. Peter Elliot, in his Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, explains: “The presence or absence of flowers is an effective sign according to the principle of contrast” (no. 70, p. 26). That is, the absence of flowers at a funeral Mass, which is a memorial for the dead, contrasts the presence of flowers at Sunday Mass, which is a celebration of new life in Christ.


It is generally the easiest to contact the Funeral Home in case the Family of the departed has a preference for what flowers they would rather have.

I never heard anything whatever that indicates that flowers are not allowed and am mystified at where the idea originated.

I have never heard of any bans on flowers, either.

Some individuals/families don’t want them, and ask for the money to be given to a charity. This is personal preference.

I have heard some criticism of certain floral displays, the ones which are made up into the shape of e.g. a car, a guitar etc. In the same way that it is not appropriate to place non-Christian symbols on the coffin, it is not appropriate to have huge displays of secular flower arrangements. This is nothing against the flowers themselves, just the way they are arranged.

Since a funeral Mass may be held on most days (exceptions are the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Eastertide; Holy Thursday & the Easter Triduum), there may be a funeral Mass on a day when there are no flowers allowed in church. This would not be a specific ban on funeral flowers, just coincidence with the time of year.

Me either. I have always seen flowers at funerals.

But when we spoke to the Funeral Director, he gave me the impression that flowers were a no no.

(We are the family. My mom passed away on Saturday.)

I am sorry to hear of your loss. I will pray for your mother. :gopray:

You will probably be having a meeting with the priest directly to discuss details of the Mass. I would suggest bringing it up with him then. It’s always possible this particular parish has a ban on flowers, but it would seem unlikely. It might be more likely that the funeral director has misunderstood. In either case, finding out the answer directly from the parish seems to be your best bet.

If you have no meeting scheduled with the priest, would it be possible to phone the parish office in order to find out their policy?

Losing a loved one is difficult, and when you wish to share your sympathy, sending flowers is a meaningful gesture that can provide comfort to those who are grieving. Funeral flowers put on some funeral homes adelaide provide a touching tribute and can brighten up a somber time.

The only clue I have to the misunderstanding is what happens in our parish at funerals. Flowers are removed from the coffin so that the crucifix and Book of the Gospels can be put on the coffin and be noticeable, not lost in a pile of wreaths. If removed, the flowers are put gently on the steps near the bier. Having the crucifix and Book of the Gospels prominent is important for a Catholic funeral.
Thinking about it more - it is rarely a problem. Flowers are usually not on the coffin anyway, but outside in the hearse, so perhaps undertakers do give this advice ahead of time to avoid any hurt.
Families occasionally provide free-standing displays, so I don’t think flowers at a funeral are banned per se.

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