preparing for death

I just purchased a life insurance policy from the Knights of Columbus. My agent said it would be enough for a burial. If I bought my own plot and so on but that’s not my question. My question is what is the “last rites”. I don’t know that I’d want a funeral but being catholic aren’t you supposed to be buried with a “catholic burial” ? What exactly is that. I’ve never been to one and what is the sacrament that goes with burial and passing away?

Why wouldn’t you want a funeral? A funeral or Requiem Mass is offered for your immortal soul, in case you are in purgatory, as are any additional Masses that family or friends have offered for you. But if you mean a “funeral service” with eulogies, that isn’t required (though it is usually expected in the U.S., and sometimes merges with the Requiem, which isn’t supposed to happen).

A Catholic burial means being buried in blessed ground and having a priest commend your soul to God and offer prayers for you, along with all present.

“Last Rites” generally means two sacraments – Holy Communion (then called viaticum, provisions for the journey) and Anointing of the Sick (a.k.a. Extreme Unction). The latter gives special spiritual strength and healing, and if you are unable to make a confession of sins, it is sufficient for absolution, provided you have the right dispositions and intentions (contrition, etc.).

One can also have the body cremated… which can be less expensive as caskets are rather expensive.

Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament than can be given more than once… so if you are very sick, or going to have a major surgery… a priest can anoint you, and then say you recover… the next time you are very sick you can be anointed again. You can receive this sacrament anywhere… in a hospital, at the scene of an accident, etc.

Hope your not planning on leaving us anytime soon… We need you right here on C A

A Catholic preparing for end of life issues, faces somewhat more than simply writing a will or signing a DNR or deciding if they wish to be an organ donor–those things should be part of ANY human beings plans as we all are human and all will die. I think all of us should think of things such as whether there is a specific scripture verse or religious hymn we’d want at our funeral mass. My mom always loved the Ave Maria–and so we sang it at her funeral. Such things aren’t required–but if you know and say in advance, it’s always helpful to a grieving family–I say this from experince

The last rites–aka “Anointing of the Sick” is done by a priest, though normally someone has to notify the priest if you are seriously ill as they aren’t telepathic. Yes, the Sacrament of the Sick can be given more than once–and can be and is encouraged to be given to all elderly people or anyone who is seriously ill, facing surgery or etc. but we are speaking of prior to death here–so I’ll limit my comments to that only. If the dying person is conscious, it is often their final opportunity to “get things right with God” by having their confession heard one last time and receiving one final communion. The sacrament itself can sometimes lead to physical healing–but the greater point is to rid oneself of all sin possible and obtain graces for that final departure–another words, for spiritual and final healing.

Most Catholics sort of follow a tradition at death. Firstly, a group rosary is often said and usually led by the priest on the day/evening before the actual funeral mass. Sometimes this is done at the funeral home–other times the body is brought to the church for the rosary. Most Catholics do have a funeral Mass–where the body is brought to church one final time and is blessed and the Mass is said for the good of their soul. Then, the body may be buried or cremated–either is acceptable to the church today. One thing I ran into when my mom died–something I’d never even heard of before to be honest–is that there is a current little fad where if someone is cremated–for family members to be given little glass containers–really small–that can be worn on a necklace if they want to (why would anyone want to?) with a little bit of the dead person’s ashes in them. My understanding is that this is against church law–that the body or the ashes must be buried all together or put in an ossuary or wherever all together. Often, if the person is being buried or placed in a Catholic cemetery, the priest will accompany the entire family to the cemetery and bless the open grave itself, as well as offer a few more final prayers for the deceased. To me, these customs are very beautiful, appropriate and comforting to the family, and hopefully they help the deceased as much as possible to land in heaven with as little time in purgatory as possible.

Where that thing about putting “samplers” of ashes into little glass necklace things and gifting them to family members came from is beyond me. The only reason I know of it, is that my mom died about 2 years ago and since we live in Alaska but were having Mom buried with my Dad in Oklahoma at a later time–we had her cremated due to expense. The funeral director asked me if I wanted to purchase any of these little “ash-holders” for the grandkids. I told him no–I didn’t even have to ask a priest first as I just automatically knew that my mom would never have wanted such a thing done. But after all was over, I mentioned it to my parish priest and asked him if he’d ever even heard of such a thing before. He said he had, that the church dos NOT allow it, but that it sometimes comes up—especially if the dead person is a beloved young child etc and the parents want it. Who’d a thunk?

I’d suggest they get a tattoo and forget it anyway. Wearing a jar of someone’s ashes around my neck would seem a little morbid to me…

If I remember correctly from another thread, you also hold Buddhist beliefs regarding death.

Since the Catholic and Buddhist teachings differ on death, you may want to discuss with your priest your beliefs on your multiply lifetimes.

Since the Catholic Church believes we have one life, the importance of our soul after death and the graces for our soul may be different than your ideas with the mixing of Buddhist beliefs of multiply lives.

If you notice someone in your parish has died, you usually are welcomed to attend their Rosary Service and the Mass of Christian Burial (Funeral Mass). (Although there may be an exception, most parishioners are invited to attend both of these events for a deceased parishioner.) You may understand more after attending the Rosary Service and Funeral Mass. Both are to pray for the soul of the departed to attain Heaven for Eternity.

Sacraments are only for the Living. Some people do receive Sacraments near their death, Anointing of the Sick, Confession, Holy Communion. These three sacraments make up the Last Rites.

We want to keep ourselves in a state of grace at all times. That is one reason to frequent the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, as we do not know the hour of our death.

If one goes to heaven I don’t think they would need to worry about a multiplicity of lives. Your going to a better place anyway.

No I hope not. There is work to be done here. Death can wait. I just got a policy and wanted to inquire about catholic burials/funerals and sacraments involving this.

Oh then one would need this then. I was not aware of that.

Well hope you are around for a long long long time…
I for one enjoy your company,

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