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"The church always prefers the interment or entombment of the body because it gives fuller expression to our Christian faith."
Traditions, Alternatives and Regulations

Who May be Buried in a Catholic Cemetery?

The church expects the burial of Catholics in Catholic cemeteries. To avoid breaking close family ties, non-Catholic members of Catholic families may be interred in a Catholic cemetery. In the Archdiocese, Catholic burial, including the funeral Mass, is permitted for a baptized non-Catholic who might reasonably be presumed to desire or prefer Catholic burial services. Such a decision would be appropriate where the non-Catholic party worshipped regularly at the Catholic Church or identified with the Catholic Church more than any other.

Donations of Bodies or Organs

Some families choose to donate their bodies or parts of bodies for medical research or to various types of "organ banks". This is an appropriate action but should be arranged for in advance. Upon eventual disposition of the body or its parts an appropriate burial should take place in keeping with the traditions of the Catholic Church.

Cremation

Since 1963, cremation has been an acceptable option for those of the Catholic faith. Whenever possible, however, the church always prefers the interment or entombment of the body because it gives fuller expression to our Christian faith.

When cremation is chosen, the preferred sequence for the final rites is for cremation to take place after the Funeral Mass. Whether cremation takes place before or after the funeral rites, the church expects these families to seek an appropriate final resting place for the cremated remains of the body. The scattering of the cremated remains or keeping the cremated remains in a home are not the reverent disposition that the church requires.

The Catholic Cemeteries offer the following options for those choosing cremation:

Niches - an above ground burial crypt, sized for an urn containing the cremated remains of the body and allowing for identification and remembrance.

Graves - smaller sized graves that allow for a grave marker to be placed identifying and remembering the deceased.


Burial of Fetuses and Stillborns

All life is sacred and the remains of fetuses and stillborns of Catholic parents should be given a reverent Christian burial. A no-cost burial service is available for fetuses and stillborns, if desired.

Estate Plan Good Works

Your faith and good works live on when you include your favorite Catholic Parish or Catholic Agency in your estate plan. Over the years you have supported your church - your faith family - in so many ways and we are grateful. Now we ask you to consider a bequest to continue that support as you make or review your will. The legal designation for bequests to a parish or agency in the Archdiocese is: The Catholic Bishop of Chicago, a Corporation Sole, for the use and benefit of (name of parish or agency). Any questions may be directed to the Office of Wills and Estates at (312) 603-6441.

View other information regarding Catholic Cemeteries and burial:

For additional information, please call us at 708-449-6100
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