February 14, 2012

Burial in a Catholic cemetery

By Father Rocky Hoffman *

I am in my 70s and through my life it was always taught that when a Catholic dies it is very important that they be buried in a Catholic cemetery for they would receive graces from the Masses offered in the Church of that cemetery.  My husband and I live in an area where many churches are closing.  Are the people buried in the cemeteries connected to these closed churches now without the benefit of such graces?  We have not bought our burial plot as yet for we do not know if the $600 for the church cemetery plot is more advantageous for our immortal soul than the $100 plot in the community cemetery where we are told the ground is blessed/consecrated when it is a Catholic being buried.  We would appreciate your thought on this. 

$600 for a Catholic cemetery vs. $100 for a public cemetery?  Well, I guess you get what you pay for!  Whenever possible a Catholic should choose to be buried in a Catholic cemetery, not only because the Church considers that ground to be sacred, but also because Mass will normally be celebrated at or near the cemetery on All Souls Day and on Memorial Day each year, and the Mass will be offered for the repose of the souls buried there.

As for the souls buried in Catholic cemeteries connected to closed parish churches, they are still remembered at Mass from time to time at the remaining parishes to which they have been assigned if the parishioners of that parish request that a Mass be celebrated for that intention.  In any case, the best way to assure prayers for the repose of your soul, is to direct that Masses be celebrated for that intention.  Even if you are buried in a public cemetery, you -- or the loved ones surviving you – may request that Masses be celebrated for the repose of your soul.
All things being equal, it’s better to choose burial in a Catholic cemetery.

Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, JCD (Fr. Rocky) is Executive Director of Relevant Radio.  Ordained as a priest for Opus Dei in 1992 by Blessed John Paul II, he holds a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a BA in History from Northwestern University.  His Question and Answer column appears in several Catholic newspapers and magazines across the country.

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


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