I know this title is not really a subject many of us wish to talk about. However, all of us will at some time be called to discuss this reality. With the Feast of All Souls rapidly approaching I thought I may offer a kind reminder of what our Catholic faith teaches us about the subject of death and our rites as Catholics.
Many of our rites during this time of our life or our loved one’s life are steeped in prayer and ritual to assist us through our sadness and grief. The Church (Jesus) wants us to be comforted and surrounds us in prayer. There are convents and monasteries and people in our own parishes praying for the repose of the souls of our loved ones and for those of us entering this difficult period in our respective lives. We are reminded, if possible, to call our parish priest and ask for final reconciliation and anointing and Viaticum (food for the journey) before our time on earth is over.
After a death it is highly recommended that a vigil or wake be observed reflecting the Christian life of the deceased. In this rite we are encouraged to use Scripture, music and to have people speak about the deceased. This is the perfect time to eulogize our departed family member or close friend!
It is strongly urged again, hopefully within the next 12-24 hours, that the funeral Mass is celebrated to pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased and to continue praying for the family in their hour of sorrow. It is in the confines of the Mass that Scriptures are chosen to reflect the life of our loved one and sacred music is used in respect for the dignity of this life lived sacramentally. There is an instruction at the end of Mass that is especially important for all of us: “In peace, let us take our brother/sister to his/her place of rest.”
In lieu of the final direction at Mass, the Church, because of the dignity of the life created in the image and likeness of God, teaches us to bury or intomb the deceased’s remains as quickly as possible. If one is cremated, then all remains are to be buried or intombed. The Catholic Church teaches that no remains are to be scattered or placed in other vessels for private use. It is at the committal service we pray and receive the blessings of God as a community, to leave our loved one in their final place of rest so that we may return and pray for our blessings of today and hopes for our tomorrows.
If you have the cremated remains of a loved one or other relative and feel financial considerations are preventing you from giving this person their final place of rest, please see Deacon Jim’s article below about our All Soul’s community committal service, where we can help provide your loved one’s remains the dignity they deserve.
We want to remind all our Catholic brothers and sisters of the Church’s teaching regarding our burial rites: The Church’s explicit desire is for our remains to be buried as soon as possible after a funeral Mass (usually within 24-48 hours after the Mass). This same teaching holds true for all cremated remains. Perhaps, as part of a move or a deep house cleaning, the remains of an uncle, aunt or some other relative have been discovered on a shelf or tucked away in the basement. It is our Catholic belief in the dignity of life that these remains should be permanently interred as soon as possible.
If financial difficulties are involved, consider our November 5th Communal Interment at 11 a.m. in St. Wenceslaus Mausoleum at St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. There is no cost to participate in this committal service, but we do require information in advance regarding the deceased for our records. Please contact our Family Services Department as soon as possible for more information.
The funeral Mass has a final directive for us: “In peace, let us take our loved one to their final place of rest.” Help us to give your loved ones the dignity they deserve by giving them their final resting place.
Blessings to all,
Deacon Jim Tardy
At any point in time, Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Omaha has many projects either underway or in the planning stages. My first 15 months as the director has demonstrated the need for us to be flexible, especially where our projects
We continue to look for ways to improve our cemeteries, from planting new trees, to providing better access to sections within the cemeteries, to increasing availability of burial spaces. Many of our current projects have been in the planning stages for several years, while others are in response to events such as storms or theft.
Storms in July and August 2021 took a brutal toll on our grounds, with nearly 50 trees lost and another 50 requiring extensive trimming. We have replaced many of these trees, but unfortunately they can’t be placed in the same spot as the lost tree – the roots from old tree would prevent growth of the new tree. Our annual budget includes plans for adding trees each year but we obviously didn’t anticipate losing so many existing trees from these two storms.
Also in July 2021, our bronze Infant of Prague statue was stolen. We replaced the original bronze statue, which stood on Calvary’s grounds since the 1960s, with a larger granite version. And by placing the new statue on top of a columbarium, we were able to increase the availability of cremation niches. This columbarium has been well received since its installation this past Memorial Day, with nearly 25% of the niches already sold!
Our plans for this year included adding a new north-south road in Resurrection Cemetery, which will allow for much better access to the interior of Sections M, N and O. I had hoped to tell you about how great the new road looks. Unfortunately, due to weather-related delays early in the summer, availability of materials, and unexpected personal issues with our contractor, we were unable to start the project this year. We still plan to move forward with this new road but are working through the question of when.
Lastly, we have begun production of two new columbarium to be installed under the Trumpeting Angels statues in Resurrection Cemetery. These units will provide much needed additional cremation niches for Resurrection Cemetery. We anticipate these will be installed by early spring 2023.