Funeral Planning

"If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." (Rom 6:8)

The passing of a loved one is a profound experience of loss, even for those of faith and with full belief in the salvation of Christ. The parish is here to walk with you as you determine the funeral plan appropriate for your loved one and your family. As the United Catholic Conference of Bishops states: " The Church provides a number of prayers for the faithful to offer both to accompany the dying of a loved one and to strengthen our faith upon their death. Through private prayer and public funeral rites, we strengthen our faith and hope, comfort those who mourn, and bury the bodily remains of the deceased with care befitting what was the Temple of the Holy Spirit."

Some questions you may have:

Who can receive a Catholic Funeral?

Fully initiated Catholics, Catechumens (those preparing to become Catholic), children who may be unbaptized but whose parents intended baptism for them, and "in the prudent judgment of the local ordinary, ecclesiastical funerals can be granted to baptized persons who are enrolled in a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial community unless their intention is evidently to the contrary and provided that their own minister is not available" (canon 1183.3).

Can a Catholic be cremated?

The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine. (canon 1176.3) While the Church continues to hold a preference for corporeal burial, cremation has become part of Catholic practice in the United States and the around the world. CLICK HERE to find out more

Can cremated remains be at the Funeral Mass?

"Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites" (no. 413).

It is recommended that if your loved one has chosen to be cremated, to first have the body present for the Funeral Mass so the full rites may be done. Then, the body would be cremated followed by internment. If this is not possible, then the cremated remains can be present at the Funeral Mass and will be placed in an ossuary for the service. An ossuary is a small casket for the remains. 

Do I have to bury/entomb cremated remains?

As stated in the Catholic Funeral Rites Appendix: "The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, and the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains on the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. (no. 417)" To learn more CLICK HERE

If you cannot afford to bury/entomb the remains,  the Diocese of Richmond’s Office of cemetery and Funeral Services manages a program at cemeteries to accommodate cremains from those who are unable to afford a proper disposition of the cremains. For more information on this option, contact the office at 767-339-0851.

Where are the Catholic cemeteries near me?  CLICK HERE.

What are the options for Funeral Rites?

  1. Funeral Mass - this is a full Catholic Mass that includes the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist, along with Final Committal Prayers. (Preferred option for Catholics)
  2. Funeral Service - this is a Liturgy of the Word only with Final Committal. 
  3. Memorial Mass- if the body/remains are not present, a memorial Mass can be offered. There are no prayers of Final Committal.
  4. Rite of Committal - This is a Graveside Service usually with a reading, reflection and final prayers for internment. 

CLICK HERE to see and download the Funeral Planning Form

Can my family/friends be involved in the Mass/Service? Yes. There are various roles that family and friends can fill, from readers to gift bearers, we seek to provide opportunity for involvement. 

Suggested Funeral Readings CLICK HERE

Suggested Liturgical Music Selections CLICK HERE

When can I hold the Mass/Service? Funeral or Memorial Mass/Service dates are chosen under the discretion of the pastor and in consultation with the family. If a date is chosen on a Saturday, we cannot accommodate refreshments following the service. If the date chosen is on Monday-Thursday, refreshments can be offered following the service up to one hour following the end of the service. If the date chosen is on a Friday, the Mass must begin at 10 a.m. to accommodate refreshments following. If a later time is needed, there would be no refreshments following.

If you have lost a loved one and need to plan funeral arrangements or if you would like to preplan funeral arrangements, contact Lisa Gorton, Director of Adult Formation and Pastoral Care at lisa.gorton@saintgabriel.org or call the parish office at 804-639-6712.