FR. JAIRO’S FIRST ANNIVERSARY:

Please join me in congratulating Fr. Jairo as he celebrates his first anniversary as a priest on June 6. He is away on vacation but I am sure he would be happy to receive your words of gratitude for his service to our parish as a priest. If you wish to send him greetings, you may reach him at: Jairo.Maldonado@stfrancisraleigh.org.

CREMATION AND CATHOLICS:

Catholics are increasingly choosing to be cremated at the time of death. This has been particularly true since the onset of the current pandemic. In 1997, the Catholic Church in the United States, with the approval
of the Vatican, published guidelines to assist parishes and the families of those who are cremated in the proper and reverent treatment of these cremains as is befitting their human dignity. In our country, there are various practices regarding the treatment of cremains. Some of them are influenced by the secular world, other Christian traditions, or other faiths that do not view the human body in the same way as the Catholic Church does. This has led to some confusion or ignorance about how a Catholic who is cremated should be treated. I thought it would be helpful to provide a few comments from our official text, The Order of Christian Funerals (OCF), as guidance and education.

The Order of Christian Funerals says the following: “The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed  in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or a friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires” (OCF§417). This is our official Church teaching on this matter.

When possible and feasible, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the Funeral liturgy at which the body is present (OCF§418). This is because the body is of great importance in the Catholic faith  since it served as a temple of the Holy Spirit and was once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the Bread of Life (OCF§412). Increasingly, the costs associate with funerals and other factors makes this recommendation impractical. Note that this is a recommendation, not a requirement.

If you have questions about cremation, funerals, our parish columbarium, or pastoral care for the dying, please feel free to contact us.

Msgr. Clay

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