Popular and world-renowned designer Kate Spade died in June. A life-long Catholic and graduate of Catholic schools, she was given a Catholic funeral. The funeral reflected her personality and was full of people who described as vibrant and kind, with a memorable laugh and a drive to fill the world with beautiful things. The fact that she had a Catholic funeral also answered some common questions.
The details of the ceremony were designed to honor her life. The program featured a beautiful black and white photo of Ms. Spade with her daughter, and “Imagine” was performed because it was her favorite song. The service opened with the singing of “The First Noel” because she was born on Christmas Eve, a fact that she always relished, and her middle name was Noel. It closed with “Danny Boy”, to honor her Irish heritage.
It was a beautiful, unpretentious ceremony, with no media presence, only family and friends. She was cremated, and her urns were carried into the church in a tasteful white urn. The ceremony was lovely and answered two common questions about whether certain people are allowed Catholic funerals.
Kate Spade committed suicide. Additionally, she was cremated. Contrary to what many people believe, neither of these things disqualified her from a Catholic funeral. Let’s look at each factor individually.
- First, the Catholic Church has empathy for those who have died from suicide and those who loved them. The church understands that people who die from suicide may suffer from fear, depression, confusion, and serious psychological instability. Those who have died from suicide are permitted a Catholic funeral and burial in a Catholic Cemetery, and the American Catholic ritual has prayers specifically tailored to this unfortunate circumstance, seeking forgiveness for the person who has died, and consolation for the family and loved ones left behind.
- As to cremation, the Catholic Church allows it, with stipulations. Cremated remains must be interred or entombed, not scattered or divided. For a Catholic, there can be no keepsake jewelry or placing remains in different locations. The remains must not be kept at home, but must be in a sacred space, preferably on the sanctified grounds of a Catholic cemetery. Full Catholic funeral rites, however, are available for those who choose cremation. Though Ms. Spade’s funeral was conducted after the cremation, the church prefers for cremation to be performed after the funeral liturgy, with the body present and intact at the funeral.
For more information about planning a Catholic funeral, or if you have questions about funerals, call us. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is committed to providing a sacred place, where you and your family can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. Call us at (844) 200-2170 for more information.