Guest voice: Four questions all Catholics should ask when making burial plans

Submitted by Catholic Cemeteries

You have probably spent much time planning some of life’s most important moments: your wedding, the birth of a child, family vacation, college education, and retirement. Planning gives you the peace of mind and the ability to make decisions without stress so you can carefully consider all options and select the best. And making your burial arrangements before they are needed is no different.

WHY SHOULD I PRE-PLAN MY BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS?

By planning your final burial arrangements today instead of leaving this important decision to your loved ones at the time of your death, you ease the burden on them during an emotional and stressful time.  It is truly an act of love and consideration for your family when you pre-plan your final burial arrangements. You also ensure your specific wishes will be carried out, and your family will have the peace of mind knowing that those arrangements have been made in advance.

There are also practical reasons to pre-plan. By purchasing today, you will avoid price increases caused by inflation and other real-world factors and your family will avoid making rushed and haphazard decisions and perhaps even over spending during an emotional time.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A CATHOLIC CEMETERY?

There are many reasons to choose a Catholic cemetery in the Diocese of Syracuse. Our diocesan and parish cemeteries are holy ground, as they have been consecrated by the Bishop. Beyond the grounds and facilities, the people who work at our Catholic cemeteries consider their work a ministry in their faith as Christians.  Their caring and compassionate approach to their work in helping families cope during difficult times is a testament to their dedication as followers of Jesus.

Masses of Remembrance are offered on a regular basis to help celebrate the lives of family members.

Finally, Catholic Cemeteries provide family and friends with a calm and soothing place for remembrance and for prayerful reflection in surroundings that remind us of Christ’s promise of eternal life.

WHAT ARE MY BURIAL OPTIONS?

Above-ground mausoleum entombment or inurnment versus grave burial is typically a personal and/or family preference. All of our cemeteries have ground-burial options with beautiful gardens and spectacular surroundings. For ground burials, you may choose your preferred area, and families have several ground-burial options that can be distinguished by the type of memorial or monument placed on the grave. Several cemeteries have mausoleums that have crypts for traditional entombment, and niches for cremation. Mausoleums can be a cost-effective alternative to ground burial, and offer a welcoming, comforting space for loved ones to remember and reflect on the legacy of someone who has passed. If you are unsure what you are looking for, one of our Family Counselors would be more than happy to give you a tour and explain your options. 

Cremation is an option for practicing Catholics. The Catholic Church eliminated its prohibition against cremation in 1963. However, the Church does not believe in scattering or in any way separating the remains. The cremated remains represent the sacred body, and should be kept together in a worthy container and buried or entombed in a consecrated space like a Catholic cemetery. Cremated remains should be treated with the same respect and reverence as any other kind of burial, which assures the remains are safe and memorialized in a Catholic cemetery. Whether the cremated remains are inurned in a mausoleum or placed in a columbarium niche, the burial of the cremated remains on consecrated grounds ensures a final resting place that is both respectful and reverent.

WHAT ABOUT NON-CATHOLICS?

Catholic cemeteries have a long tradition of dedicated service to the Catholic community including non-Catholic spouses, children, parents and other relatives. Christians with a connection to the Catholic community may also be buried in a Catholic Cemetery.

Still looking for more answers? Please give Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Syracuse a call at
(315) 475-4639 and let us guide you through the process. We are here to help.