Catholic Burial - How Can I Make Sure It Happens?

I am on the only Catholic in my family, having come in to full communion with Holy Mother Church.
How do I ensure I receive a Catholic burial?

Make a living will.

Thank you for that, StrawberryJam. A living will only covers to the point of death. A will distributes my property…
I want to know my wishes concerning where my remains are placed will not be violated.
My priest says to to trust in God and hope for the best.

You do have family? Friends that would honor and carry out your wishes?

I can’t believe that the priest would answer this way.:frowning: You can designate anyone you wish to carry out these details.

I sure hope you don’t need to do so anytime soon though.

I just met you after all!!


Serious thing here- lets say you have no one. Then, you can at least trust in Christ’s mercy and he would be there for the one who was all alone zippity quick if I am reading the lost sheep story correctly and he is in fact God.

So, rest easy!

I spent a long time with my priest on this.
I have no one, and next of kin are hostile to the Catholic Church.
There is a health concern, I have cancelled any further tests (including biopsy) until I can get my head around this one.
God loves me.
The preist says go ahead with the surgery and have faith in God.
My path says look after the spiritual first, and have faith in God. If I lose my life in the process, it would only be the body that dies after all…I’d just like some say in where it goes.
Thank you for your kind words.

I think IMHO after you told this to the priest, and the hospital gives you the paperwork they now require to release your information of stay there to your parish, he should have a duty and obligation to honor your wishes at this point. (for last rites/holy unction?) and worst case… what you speak of here…:frowning: But, I have to say that is based on my gut reaction to the moral implications I see here. I have no idea what his obligation is to you if any, but give the benefit of the doubt there is something…

My thoughts are with you for the upcoming surgury. I just wish you had someone, even someone from your parish that would be willing to insure this…

You could always have your attorney make these arrangements as well. Find a catholic one if you are really worried about their follow through.

Maybe call up the Knights of Columbus? They may do this for you!

This is not an easy question. Once you are deceased, you obviously have no (name removed by moderator)ut into the matter; even if you have expressed your wishes to your family, there is no guarantee they will follow your wishes.

You could put your preferences into your will, but it won’t likely be read until long after the funeral. I don’t know that a living will would accomplish what you want, unless it designates someone to be in charge of this.

Maybe the best advice is to consult an attorney and designate him or someone you choose (and trust) as the person who is to have sole charge of the funeral arrangements, (which I pray you won’t need for a long time.)

You may be able to arrange yourself with your priest for him to say Mass for your repose.

She can even do this (have a Mass said) now, while alive I am told! Great idea!

As an attorney, I would suggest that you get with a good estate attorney. Have him draft you a good will in which you direct that your executor is to make sure that you are given a Catholic burial. In this matter, take the decision making out of your family’s hands and in the hands of a executor (a good friend or some other trusted person) who will follow your wishes.

I would talk with a lawyer. I’m sure there is a legal document that can be drawn up that specifies to what funeral home your body goes and you can make arrangements with them ahead of time including the funeral, church, and burial (pre-purchased). Make sure that your pastor knows what is in the document.

You said you recently came into full communion, how about appointing your sponsor as your executor and discussing this with him/her? Then make your funeral arrangements with the funeral home and the Church – funeral homes love it when things are “Pre-planned” (how can you plan before you plan???) It sounds morbid but people do that all the time so that their loved ones don’t have to deal with details once they die.

My will specifies where and how I should be buried, including the name of my parish church and that a High (if possible, Solemn) Requiem Mass in the EF should be celebrated, along with a rosary recitation at the funeral home.

What a beautiful and thoughtful answer, thank you.

Actually, I came into full communion years ago, my sponsor and the priest are with their Lord.
I spoke with a Catholic cemetary here about a vault for cremated remains, the cost was $3,000 (all inclusive).
I am not asking for sympathy here - I do not have the funds for that or for a lawyer. I take comfort in God’s special concern for the poor.

I have promised God, i.e. taken a vow, that I will rely on Him for my daily bread. I only eat food I’ve purchased with my own money and prepared with my own hand, giving thanks for it. That of course makes me both a cheap date and lousy dinner guest.

In the same spirit of poverty, I would not accept money for this or any other physical need.

Phemie, there’s a beautiful picture in the November issue of MAGNIFICAT (their trade mark is capitalized), that I received as a sample from those good folks. The picture is that of our 4th Pope, Clement. He is being thrown overboard with a heavy weight around his neck. His offense was that of being a Christian. Now THAT’S a Christian burial.

I am not in imminent danger with respect to the wonky pancreas. I’m in Canada, so the cost of any future treatment is covered. (No, Canadians are not Socialists, we are however a compassionate people - look up Terry Fox for a true son of Canada).

Although weak and poor and needy, I have been blessed with faith. So many other destitute people do not have that - they need our pity and our prayers. This experience has drawn me much closer to my loving God - and I was already there. I’m gaining an understanding that many of you will not have the chance to develop.

I love Him, and He knows it. He love me, and I know it.


Jesus will know your desires. Remember reading about persons willing to be in communion with the catholic church, going through RCIA, and died before they were officially taken in.
I think ask the apologist has a bunch of stuff on what happens to people like that.

The same for you, would happen. No matter how you were buried, your desire and intentions are what is the important part I think.

Just remember all those who could not be creamated in the past.

The catholic church made this rule due to heresy that was going on I believe. Some people were deliberately making a statement to deny the resurrection of Christ.

Today, people do so with love for Christ, yet not enough money (and in many parts of the world, no land) to be buried in the traditional manner.

How can we be sure anything we want will happen. Not my will but thine be done.

So what I’m hearing is it’s not important. Why even have burial rites? Those who cannot get them although it is their will, are they then second class citizens?? I ask that in a spirt of disheartenment.

I went on the Vatican website, read the Canon Law in this area, and will continue to keep this one in the back of my mind.

Medical procedures will continue to be on hold while I get some exercise for my faith.

Hilde, you did not intend to be cold, but the ice was dripping from the quick quipl. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I would find a good, practicing Catholic attorney. Let, him or her, have control of all of your assets. No family members receive anything until you are buried the way, and where you want. No fussing allowed or they receive nada, nothing, zero, zip.

Now, that would bring me peace of mind that my wishes and wants would be taken care of.

I can’t speak for Hilde, nor will I attempt to. When I read her post, I thought firstly of the many christians either baptised or not yet, who died and had no choice over arrangements and that we can look to them at times like this now in the sense that if no one can insure what is designated to be “proper” God takes over, I suppose, in his mercy and I presume his love for his child.
I suppose God would do the same for the children dismembered due to abortion. They do not get proper anything, yet I want to say that if Jesus really is the one who cares for the one who is bereft, then he must have an even better place stored up for those like these and if he will do this, (make note, this is my personal speculation as an agnostic) how could Jesus ever not have prepared a place for you when those who did not, or could not failed to.?
Jesus will provide according to your bible. You must as a believer, trust in him fully for this I think. Because, when Peter walked a few steps in the water but fell, he fell because he failed to trust I think.
Just my 2 cents. As a non believer, encouraging you to stay in your faith.

Sadly, it happens that non-Catholic or fallen away Catholic family and friends deny their loved a Mass and Christian burial.

What you CAN do is arrange now through your Parish or any other Parish for a Mass or several Masses to be said for the repose of your soul when/if you pass. A Mass stipend is a gesture and is not required.

Prayers for you.