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Catholics and Cremation


Cremation can be a confusing issue for Catholics.  In 1963 the church began to allow Catholics the choice of being cremated.  Catholics believe that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that all Godís creation is sacred. 

As Catholics, we believe that during baptism our body was baptized into the Lord and His promise of eternal life.  Recognizing that the goal of our lives is to spend eternal life with God, we prepare for that with prayer, reception of the sacraments, and caring for those around us.  Preparation for death is an essential part of life for a Christian. 

In making decisions for the preparation for death, the choice for cremation is becoming more common.  While the Church continues to prefer and encourage the faithful to bury or entomb the bodies of their departed loved ones, if cremation is chosen, the Church wishes to support the faithful in honoring the life and memory of the departed and will allow the cremated remains to be buried or entombed.

Christians respect and honor the bodies of the dead and the places they rest.  The scattering of cremated remains or keeping them at home, or dividing them among various family members is not the reverent disposition the Church believes is appropriate. The cremated remains of the body should be treated with the same respect as the whole body would be treated.  Scattering of cremated remains does not allow for families who would like to visit the final resting place of their loved one.  Generations of families still return to the site of the grave or crypt of a loved one and share memories and prayers in our legacy of faith.

In the Diocese of Santa Rosa, our Catholic Cemeteries have Urn Gardens for in-ground burial, niches for inurnment, and under certain conditions, cremated remains may be placed in a grave or crypt with a loved one already interred at the cemetery.  This allows for visitation, memorialization and prayers.  Our staff can explain the options and limitations to consider. 



Catholic Cemeteries - Diocese of Santa Rosa ~ PO Box 2098 ~ Santa Rosa, CA  95405
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