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Thankfully, most of us don’t go to too many funerals. Unfortunately, this can mean we’re not sure how to behave once we’re at a funeral service. Just as a reminder, here are some things you shouldn’t do when attending a funeral.

  • Don’t show up late. During a visitation, people can come and go. For the funeral service, it’s important to be on time. Arriving after the service has started is disrespectful and disruptive, so plan to arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Don’t dress inappropriately. For a celebration of life, the standard of dress may be somewhat relaxed. At a traditional funeral, however, there’s a traditional dress code. While it’s not necessary to dress entirely in black, it is important to dress respectfully and tastefully.
  • Don’t sit where you shouldn’t. The first few rows are for family members. If you have children who don’t know better and accidentally sit there, please quietly move them so that the family doesn’t have to do it.
  • Don’t take out your phone. It’s better to turn your phone off completely or leave it somewhere else- perhaps in the car or at home.
  • Don’t take pictures. If you’ve turned off your phone, this may not be a temptation, but unless you have been asked to do so, do not take photos at a funeral. It’s insensitive and in poor taste. There may be possible exceptions- you want to take a photo of a particularly stunning piece of family memorabilia at the service, perhaps- but in general, it’s bad form.
  • Don’t let your kids misbehave. Unless otherwise instructed, it’s fine to bring children to a funeral. Explain to them ahead of time what to expect, though, and keep them in line during the service and reception. It can be upsetting to the family if children are running wild.
  • Don’t neglect to sign the registry. If there’s a guest book or registry near the entrance it’s important to sign your full name and write a few nice words. This helps the family keep track of those at the service and allows them to effectively send thank you notes.
  • Don’t forget the family after the funeral. Once the funeral service is over, family members must move forward with their lives. It’s nice to reach out a week or so later and offer to bring a meal, run an errand, or just visit.

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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