How to encourage Catholic burial to a family of non-Catholics

I’d love some advice here. This won’t be for me, but for my DH, whose father passed away this evening (in St. Louis, we live in Omaha.) My DH is one of 8 children, and his father was a practicing Catholic up until he began to lose his memory several years ago. My mother-in-law is of unknown religion though I believe she was Catholic at one time. My brother and sisters-in-law are also of unknown faith and my husband has no inclination to ask them what faith they may be practicing.

The quandry is this. My DH has a lot of concerns about his father’s fate in the afterlife. Though it is only for God to judge, DH is further worried because his mom is uncertain if her husband received the Sacrament of the Sick and has expressed little interest in having a proper mass and burial. When DH asked her about it, she said that since he hadn’t been to mass in several years, she didn’t really give much thought to having a mass.

What happens when a Catholic doesn’t receive a Catholic burial? Would you suggest my DH encourage her to contact the Church or should he just leave it alone? Would it help if we had a mass said here for him?

My condolences on your FIL’s passing. He will meet his final judgment whatever the burial entails. Having Masses said for him though will expedite his exit from purgatory if he went there. I think it also honors the deceased to have a Mass of Christian burial especially since he was a practicing Catholic until his mind failed. It should be about the deceased and what would he want. Just my thoughts.

I am so sorry for you loss. It is no doubt a very stressful time for your family.

You can ask the funeral director to find a priest to do a graveside service. The funeral director no doubt has done this many times. He will probably tack a small fee onto the bill ($50 or so); the fee will be an offering to Father. It is my understanding that if the burial is not in a Catholic cemetary then the priest will also bless the grave. You can then have Masses said for your FIL at your parish, his old parish, or by a religious order or organization that offers this.

We had graveside services for several of my Catholic family members and it worked out beautifully.

I am so sorry for your loss. I think the graveside service is a good idea - and you might contact the Parish priest yourself near where your father lived. He may be able to guide you.

This is why it is so important for me to remember to write out my wishes…once my Mom goes, I am all alone as far as active Catholics in my family. Unless the Holy Spirit intervenes, I will have to make sure that my wishes are known, written down and (hopefully) paid for ahead of time!

Condolences to you and your family.
IMHO - even if he did not receive the Anointing of the sick, a Catholic funeral would be nice. Also as someone else mentioned, it would also help him into heaven sooner.
May his soul rest in peace.

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