By Harry N. Antram, CFSP Director of Mission and Care
Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries, Diocese of Phoenix
Most of us don’t think about death until we are forced to face it. When we lose a loved one, we may head to a funeral home not knowing much about the process of planning a funeral and burial in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
A Catholic Perspective
As part of the Diocese of Phoenix’s Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Homes, we are committed to ensuring that families who come to us to make decisions about the vigil, funeral Mass and committal are in keeping with the guidelines and teachings of the Church.
An important part of our ministry is evangelizing families on Church doctrine, so they can make educated choices and honor their loved ones in keeping with their faith. For example, many who come to us asking about cremation don’t realize that the Church restricts the scattering of cremated remains, instead calling for the remains to stay intact. Once we explain this distinction, most families are relieved to know that they have avoided inadvertently not following doctrine.
“…we are committed to ensuring that families who come to us to make decisions about the vigil, funeral Mass and committal are in keeping with the guidelines and teachings of the Church.”
Planning Ahead as a Final Gesture of Love
Though most people come to us in the aftermath of a loss to plan final arrangements, a growing number of people have the foresight to plan their own services years in advance, so their family members won’t have the emotional and financial stress in their time of grief.
Recently, I took a phone call from a family regarding their father. He and his wife—who had already left this earth—had taken care of their arrangements years before. I went to my file cabinet and pulled out his information. Everything already had been planned according to his wishes. The daughter-in-law told me, “That is one of the greatest gifts. Now we don’t have to go through the stress and turmoil of planning this ourselves and wondering what he wanted.”
Moments like these are why I take great pride and fulfillment in our ministry at Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Homes. Our work can be difficult, but I can’t think of anything I would rather do than help guide people through the process of saying goodbye to a loved one.
Contact Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes at (602) 267-3962 or at dopccfh.org.