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Advent is a sacred and special season in the Catholic Church. It’s an important time, in which we prepare for Christmas, the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. For many people, it’s a time of year that’s precious and greatly anticipated, but what happens when a death occurs during Advent? When it comes to funerals, the Catholic Church has very specific rules that apply.

Advent leads up to Christmas, and Christmas lasts from December 25 through the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. It’s a season of hopeful longing and joyful expectation, in which to prepare spiritually for Christmas, readying our hearts and minds for the birth of the Christ child. This sacred season is important because it connects us with God’s plan of redemption.

As you might expect, there are limits on when funerals may be held during the season of Advent. No funeral Masses may be held on Sundays during this season. Further, there can be no funeral Mass on Christmas. If a Catholic passes away during the season of Advent, the funeral must be held on a weekday or Saturday. A funeral at this time of year can be quite meaningful, with sacred music of the season, and Christmas-themed floral arrangements that are made with seasonally appropriate flowers like red roses, white Amaryllis, and poinsettias.

Of course, if you’re asked to attend a non-Catholic’s funeral on Christmas Day, you may do so. Attending a funeral is a compassionate gesture, in keeping with Christ’s message of kindness and love. However, attending a funeral on Christmas does not absolve you of your obligation to attend Mass on that day.

No matter what time of year, the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose can help you plan a funeral for your loved one, following the appropriate Catholic guidelines. 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. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. For more information, contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.

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