Visiting Cemeteries?


Okay so my wife got this crave of visiting a cemetary today. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was closed.

Since we decided to stay and look anyway, we were actually in for quite an experience; it was dark outside but we could still see the names of the people and when they had died while standing on the outside of the cemetery. At some point we heard the sound of a coke can or something being thrown in the street, and since we saw noone around, we high tailed it out of there because we were afraid someone (or some thing) may be trying to hurt us.

My question is what’s the Churchs’ teaching on visiting a grave? I know that you can pray for the reposed souls of the dead if they are in Purgatory and if they are in Heaven then they will pray for you. Any guidance on this would be appreciated. Thnx.


It is a laudable and meritorious act. The Church even grants an indulgence to such an act, under the usual conditions.

Go frequently!
(and don’t let the wind blowing a can around scare you away ;))


first of all,one becomes quite aware of how short ones life here is on earth…is this all?..a stone marking ones last resting place…the year of birth and death…maybe if permitted a motto or slogan and thats it! To stop and pause at a stone of a little child…and maybe the saying etched in stone “Baby Alice.she was our all”…or another one with two doves…one standing the other with belly up signifying death…twins,one died at birth,the other lived on for some 60+years…then united again in death…sad…or a stone of an old army veteran , a woman called.the family nurse,a teen killed in an auto mishap…flowers left,or a little stone placed on the tombstone illustrating also a visit…one with the saying’ prepare for death,as you are now once was I…as I am now soon you will be…" a simple wooden cross marking the last resting place of a slave…never owning a thing treated as but property but now free,free at last!!! A cemetery is holy ground…a place for we the living to pause and reflect…what is really important anyway?..a local quite wealthy land owner is next…huge stone but still under the same ground as all the rest…the city of the dead…but a warning for us all …of the future…cemeteries are very important …our last bit of real estate…


When vacationing we often visit cemetaries. Some have great historical significance. When we were in California two weeks ago we visited the cemetary of a mission church. Some of the gravestones were from the late 1700’s and were scratched into stone crosses. I like looking at old headstones from an artistic point of view as well. Greenwood Cemetary, in Brooklyn NY, where my grandparents are buried, offers tours of the grounds since this cemetary is also historical and the headstones and monuments are so interesting and there are many unique and fascination facts about the cemetary. There is a section that is all young children, all who died in and influensa epidemic, there are the graves of some famous and some infamous people. There is even a grave monument of a woman in a wedding dress and of someone in a bathtub.


I often go out the cemetery in the town I live in. My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather and all the Stark descendants pretty much have been buried out there. Where some of my early ancestors that are buried, there is a crucifix out there. I like to read my Bible and my Catechism of the Catholic Church out there as well as visit ancestors and friends graves. Gives me a good feeling out there


I may start going and taking my Bible and Rosary and Holy Water… When my puppy died I actually buried one of my favorite Rosaries with him… I miss that puppy!

This is kind of off topic…

If you pray for someone and their soul is in hell, are your prayers amiss or what happens with that prayer?


Thanks for the replies. Last night, as soon as we got out of the car, I got this sense of Peace that drove any feeling of uneasiness away. I could tell how deeply Catholic this graveyard was. One stone, that looked like a pillar, had a mantle on top of it made in stone, signifying the mantle that was torn in the Temple, giving us direct access to the Holiest of Holies. Another gravestone with the letters: “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” Another gravestone for a lady that lived nearly a hundred years.

My guess is that you have to be very respectful towards these souls, whether be in Hell, Purgatory, or Heaven as this is for now, as it seems, the final frontier of human existence.


I was told that prayer will be assigned to someone else, and prayers are never wasted.:thumbsup:


Well at least I know it’d be doing someone else good…


The souls in Purgatory also pray for us. They cannot pray for themselves, though, and need us to pray for them.


The main reason for that is Purgatory purifies us of selfishness… thus the reason why they cannot pray for themselves. If that were the case they could pray so much that they’d get out on their own behalf, which would be selfish, which would be a sin.


Whenever I visit my home country I stop by the cemetery where most of both sides of my family are buried. I pray for my closest relatives buried there as well as for my forebears.

A few years ago, I was with my son and we noticed that just like our oldest ancestors buried there had been born in the last 150 years, as they all came from Europe. Now, our tombs won’t be there, but here in America, so I hope that my descendants stop by my century-old tomb to say a prayer for this sinner’s soul.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit