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Flowers are a go-to for paying respects when someone has died. Used in funerals to add beauty to a somber day, they can also decorate a gravesite, to honor the person who has died and provide comfort to the family. If you’re considering sending flowers, though, it’s important to note that some religious traditions do not permit flowers to be sent for a funeral. What’s the rule for Catholics? Are flowers appropriate for a Catholic funeral?

In short, yes. Flowers play a significant role in Catholic funerals and are used to decorate the wake as well as the funeral service and gravesite. Arrangements may be sent to the family’s residence or to the funeral home, but it’s important to follow some basic rules of etiquette when choosing your arrangement. The Church prefers that flowers be used in moderation, and arrangements should be appropriately subdued. Consider a simple arrangement, such as a wreath, which has a circular shape that represents eternal life. Don’t go for anything flashy, but keep your arrangement respectful. If the person who has died was a child, you may wish to use tasteful pastels to soften your arrangement.

Another factor to consider when choosing a flower arrangement for a Catholic funeral is your relationship with the person who has died. In general, the closer you were, the more leeway you have in sending a large arrangement. The immediate family will choose the spray for the casket, and if you did not know the person well, a small, tasteful arrangement is more appropriate than a larger one. One exception to this rule is the case of coworkers who send flowers as a group: it’s appropriate to send a larger arrangement if it’s from several people.

Common flowers used in funeral arrangements include lilies, roses, chrysanthemums, and carnations. Just about any flower, however, can be used in a tasteful arrangement. Think about the person who has died, considering that person’s favorite flowers and colors, and incorporate some of those things into the arrangement if possible. Ask your florist for guidance, because he or she will be knowledgeable about funeral flower arrangements.

The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is proud to be a part of the Catholic Community in San Jose, California. Committed to providing a sacred place where families can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting, we welcome you and your family to visit our properties and experience the peace of these prayerful places. 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. If you’d like to know more about our properties, or you need to know where to send flowers, you can 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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