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From the Pastor 10/28/18

This is the last week of October, and we are now anticipating the month of November when we especially pray for our beloved deceased. There will be a special memorial at the Blessed Mother’s Altar for all of our loved ones in the parish who have passed away since our All Soul’s Day of 2017, and also special candles to light as well.

Please remember that Thursday, November 1 is the Solemnity of All Saints, and is a Holy Day of Obligation for all Catholics. Friday, November 2 is the Commemoration of All Souls. All three Masses on All Souls Day will be for the repose of all souls, and it is a venerable tradition for Catholics to celebrate Mass on this most important day. Also, the month of November gives me the opportunity to once again reprint my article about cremation.

A Catechism on Cremation

On March 21, 1997, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States was granted an indult from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments and the Supreme Pontiff Pope John Paul II, for the funeral rites in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased. The faithful are granted the full rites of Christian burial when a family decides to have their loved ones cremated. In the Order of Christian Funerals with Cremation Rites there are important clarifications for the Christian faithful concerning cremation. Here are some directives from the Cremation Appendix:

Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites.

Sometimes, however, it is not possible for the body to be present for the Funeral Mass. When extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by priests, deacons, and others who minister to the family of the deceased. When the choice has been made to cremate a body, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the Funeral Liturgy. The Church does recognize that due to extraordinary circumstances the body can be cremated prior to the funeral liturgy, and the cremated remains may be brought into the church for the funeral Mass.

The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.

It is very important that the Catholic faithful understand all the points above:

  • The Church still prefers the burial of the body over cremation.
  • It is recommended that cremation should take place after the funeral Mass. Only under “extraordinary circumstances”should cremation take place before the funeral Mass.
  • Plans should be made for the cremated remains to be buried in a grave in a reasonable amount of time if the interment does not take place immediately after the Mass.
  • Scattering cremated remains is not reverent disposition.
  • The Church requires that the cremated remains be interred.

The Church recognizes the importance of laying our loves ones to rest, not only because they are dust and unto dust they should return, but also because the surviving family needs closure to their grieving. Keeping the cremated remains poses a real burden to this needed closure in our lives.

Please also keep in mind that the Church understands that if burial of the body causes undue financial strain on a family, cremation is perfectly acceptable.

As we are trying to keep a quiet and prayerful atmosphere in the church, it goes without saying that this is even more important in the Adoration Chapel. Please do not answer your phones in the chapel, and please do not have conversations in the adjoining hallway outside the chapel. Please take all conversations outside or to the St. Joseph Room or lobby.

Finally, we have just completed building a new outside manger crib for Christmas. The old crib fell apart last Christmas and had to be thrown away. I am looking for any antique barn stuff that we could use in the crib: old tools, pails, old fashion milk containers, etc. If you have any of these and would like to donate them to the new crib, please drop off at the Parish Office.

A Blessed Week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P. Pastor