Catholic Cremation in San Jose
At Catholic Cemeteries, we understand you may have many unanswered questions about cremation as an option for people of this faith. Our staff is here to answer anything you need, and we have compiled a list of the most frequently answered questions about cremation for you here. If your question is not answered in this list, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the dedicated team here for answers. Our goal is to help you find the right solution for your individual situation and to make that process as simple and worry-free as possible.
I am Catholic, Can I be cremated?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, and the answer is yes. In 1963, the Catholic Church lifted its prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation. Canon 1176 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law states, “The Church earnestly recommends the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed, it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.”
When should cremation take place?
The Church prefers that cremation take place after the full Funeral Liturgy wherein the body is present. “This is the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life.” The Church’s belief in the sacredness of life and the resurrection of the dead encourages us to celebrate the funeral liturgy with the body present while affirming the value of human life. As Catholics, we celebrate our funeral liturgies because they recall Christ’s victory over death. With His victory, comes our promise of eternal life.
If it is not possible for the body to be present at the Funeral Mass, the Catholic Church has granted permission for the celebration of the Funeral Mass with the cremated remains of the body present in church. Since it is the “earthly remains” and not the body of the deceased that is present, there are slight adaptations in the liturgy. Please contact our office to learn more about the process and the services that are available.
How are the cremated remains of the body laid to rest?
The cremated remains of the body should be buried or entombed. Scattering the cremated remains of the body, keeping them at home, or dividing them among various family members is not the reverent disposition the Church requires. Our Catholic Cemeteries have grave space or niches for cremated remains of the body. This allows for visitation, memorialization, and prayers. We will be honored to help you find the right place for the remains of your loved one, and have many special locations to select from throughout the property.
What Catholic rites are available for those choosing cremation?
The Order of Christian Funerals presents the Church’s plan for the celebration of the death of one of the faithful. These rites assume the presence of the body, but adaptations are available for those choosing cremation.
Contact a parish or priest to prepare for the Order of Christian Funerals. They are fully prepared to help you attend to all the details of importance.
If you have never had the responsibility for planning this type of thing before, we understand it may seem confusing. Catholic cremations observe the same guidelines as a regular funeral overall, according to the principles laid out in the faith. The Order of Christian Funerals consists of three parts:
- Vigil and related Rites and Prayers,
- The Funeral Liturgy, and
- The Rite of Committal
Vigils are a time for families to come together and eulogize the deceased, remembering their lives and sharing memories as they grieve. This is the first step in the process, and it is often something that takes place at a funeral home. Although the format varies a bit, prayers are said and people honor the life of the person who has passed.
The next part is the Mass. Catholics hold a Liturgy for the deceased where they come together as members of a shared faith and connect the life of the person who has died to the larger congregation and their beliefs. This service traditionally takes place in a church.
The “Rite of Committal” is our farewell to our beloved brother or sister in Christ. At this time we turn over the care of our loved one to the cemetery staff, as we await the resurrection of the dead along with the communion of saints. This is the final part of the Order of Christian Funerals, and it usually takes place at the cemetery chapel or gravesite. Catholicism encourages the burial of the body, and this remains true even after cremation.