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Choosing the Right Grave Marker for a Catholic Funeral

When you’re planning a funeral, the grave marker is an important factor. Many options are available to memorialize your loved one, from flat markers to statuary. Do you know all the choices that are available to you?

It might be helpful to have a list of definitions of terms that pertain to grave markers.

  • Flat Marker- small and economical, this type of marker is set flush to the ground. These markers are typically made of bronze or granite, in a variety of colors and can also feature different textures and finishes, as well as symbols shapes, designs, and images.
  • Upright Headstone– made of a base and a tablet or stone, these are the most common type of markers at most cemeteries.
  • Slant Marker– also known as a slanted gravestone, it has a wide base and slants about 45 degrees to a tapered top. It looks like an upright headstone in some ways but is thicker and shorter.
  • Ledger Marker– a thick slab that covers the whole grave, a ledger marker can be used in conjunction with other markers or monuments. It’s usually made of granite, marble or sandstone.
  • Monument– this is really just a grave marker that’s typically large and somewhat elaborate in decoration.
  • Memorial- this term is often used interchangeably with a grave marker but implies that it’s larger and more ornate than a typical marker or headstone.
  • Obelisk- a tall, column-like monument, an obelisk is mounted on a four-sided square pedestal and pointed at the top.
  • Statuary- this really just means statues. These are often made of marble or bronze and can be made in a wide variety of shapes, including angels, people, a cross and much more. Ask your cemetery what’s permitted and talk to the monument company about what’s available. Many companies have a wide selection and also do custom work.

What makes a marker specifically Catholic? It might incorporate Catholic symbolism or use scripture in its inscription. Statues and carvings are popular options for Catholics, often depicting angels or saints and sometimes even Jesus or the Virgin Mary.

No matter what kind of grave marker appeals to you, it’s important to check with the cemetery for regulations and restrictions. Cemeteries often have rules about size, color, and other specifications. Ask about styles that are and are not allowed, and make sure you’ve filled out any paperwork required by the cemetery to permit your grave marker.

Sometimes, the details surrounding a Catholic funeral can be confusing or seem complicated. When you’re planning a Catholic funeral, or need help understanding our rules about grave markers, we can help. Call us at 833-428-0379.

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