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Senior Book Club

Catholic Considerations

The Catholic Church allows for cremation as a means of disposition of the body. In 1963, the Vatican lifted the prohibition against cremation, and in 1966, the Code of Canon Law formally permitted it, provided that certain conditions are met.


The Church's stance on cremation emphasizes the importance of treating the remains with reverence and dignity, as they are a sign of the person who lived and died. Here are the key guidelines and considerations regarding cremation in the Catholic Church:


Respect for the Body: The Church emphasizes that the cremated remains should be treated with the same respect and reverence as a body in a casket. The ashes should not be scattered, divided, or kept at home as a personal memento.

Funeral Rites: The funeral rites for a deceased Catholic should be followed, whether the body is buried or cremated. This includes a funeral Mass or a memorial service, prayers for the deceased, and the presence of a priest or deacon to offer blessings.


Final Disposition: The cremated remains should be interred in a cemetery or the Good Shepherd Columbarium at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Visalia. Placing the ashes in a dignified and consecrated place reflects the belief in the resurrection and the sacredness of the human body.


Scattering of Ashes: While the Church discourages the scattering of ashes, there may be exceptional circumstances where it is permitted, provided that it is not done as a sign of disbelief in the resurrection or a lack of respect for the body.


Cremation for Unusual Reasons: The Church may forbid cremation for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, such as the denial of bodily resurrection or other beliefs contrary to the teachings of the Church.

It's essential to note that while the Church allows cremation, individual Catholics can have personal preferences, and some may choose traditional burial for cultural, personal, or spiritual reasons. The Church respects both choices, as long as they are done with reverence and in accordance with its guidelines.

Why Choose Good Shepherd Columbarium at St. Charles Borromeo Church

Placing your loved one’s ashes at the Good Shepherd Columbarium at St. Charles Borromeo Church is entirely appropriate and in line with Catholic Church guidelines regarding the cremated remains' final disposition. Since the Good Shepherd Columbarium is located within the grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Church, and the Columbarium itself is considered consecrated ground, it aligns with the principles of treating the remains with reverence and providing a sacred and dignified resting place.

Columbariums are structures designed to hold cremated remains in niches, providing a respectful and permanent place for the deceased. When located within a consecrated Catholic Church or cemetery, like the Good Shepherd Columbarium at St. Charles Borromeo Church, they hold the same spiritual significance as traditional burial plots.


By placing the ashes at the Good Shepherd Columbarium, the deceased will be part of the faith community and the Communion of Saints, allowing family and friends to visit, pray, and remember them in the sacred setting of the church grounds.


It's important to follow any specific guidelines or procedures provided by the church or the Columbarium staff to ensure that the interment is done appropriately and in accordance with the Church's teachings and regulations.


What Catholic’s Believe About Final Resting Places:


Sacred Ground: Good Shepherd Columbarium at St. Charles Borromeo Church is consecrated ground, blessed by the bishop, and considered sacred. It is believed that by placing the deceased in such a cemetery, they are in a spiritually favorable environment, surrounded by the prayers of the faithful.


Communion of Saints: Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints, which is the spiritual connection between the living and the dead. Being buried in a Catholic cemetery allows the deceased to be part of this community of believers, fostering an ongoing spiritual connection between the living and the deceased through prayer and remembrance.


Catholic Tradition and Rituals: Catholic cemeteries often provide spaces for specific Catholic burial traditions and rituals, such as the recitation of the Rosary, requiem Masses, and other Catholic funeral customs. These practices offer comfort to the grieving family and friends and provide a sense of continuity with the broader Catholic faith community.


Resurrection and Final Judgment: Catholic theology teaches the belief in the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment. Being buried in a Catholic cemetery emphasizes this belief, as it is a place where Catholics await the resurrection and the fulfillment of God's promises.


Respect for the Body: Catholic teaching emphasizes the dignity and respect of the human body, as it is considered the temple of the Holy Spirit. Burying the deceased in a Catholic cemetery reflects this reverence for the body and its eventual resurrection.

Unity of Faith: By being buried in a Catholic cemetery, Catholics express their unity of faith and their desire to remain connected to the larger Catholic community even after death.

It's important to note that while there are spiritual and theological reasons for Catholics to prefer burial in a Catholic cemetery, circumstances may not always allow for it, and the Church acknowledges this. In situations where burial in a Catholic cemetery is not possible, the Church still encourages the deceased to be laid to rest with dignity and respect, and it offers prayers for the repose of their soul regardless of the burial location.

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