Cremation is permitted in the Catholic Church as long as it is not done for reasons contrary to Christian teaching. The church strongly prefers, however, that the body of the deceased is present for the funeral rites and that cremation takes place AFTER the Funeral Mass. Nevertheless, a Funeral Mass with the cremated remains is permitted.
The proper terminology is “cremains” or “cremated remains” rather than “ashes.” This respects the Catholic Church’s teaching on the sacredness of the body.
The cremated remains must be buried in the ground or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium after the Funeral Mass. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home is not permitted. The cremated remains may not be divided nor may they be divided and placed into jewelry or other containers. A Funeral Mass will not be permitted at Holy Family Catholic Church without some assurance or documentation proving that the cremains will be buried or entombed.
The cremated remains should be placed in a worthy vessel. Normally this is obtained at the Funeral Home. If cremation takes place before the Funeral Mass, the cremains are present at the Mass. A small table or stand is provided at the place that is normally occupied by a casket. The family has the option of carrying the cremains to their place before the altar during the entrance procession or they may be placed there before the Funeral Mass begins.