In Arizona, Catholics are blessed to have many Catholic cemeteries at which to lay their loved ones to rest in the traditions of our centuries-old faith. But what makes a Catholic cemetery and funeral home different from their secular counterparts?

Perhaps most importantly, Catholic cemeteries are blessed by the bishop, which means the grounds are considered holy. As such, they provide a respite for grieving families who come to remember their loved ones and pray in a sacred setting. They are truly an extension of the Church and a place to commune with God while paying respects to departed family and friends.

Another element that sets apart Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes in particular is that we are owned and operated by the Diocese of Phoenix. As part of the Church, we consider our work a ministry. When we meet with grieving families, we help educate them on Church doctrine. Sometimes this includes informing families about Catholic beliefs around cremation and teaching them that in our faith we bury cremated remains intact without scattering or separating them.

“Our ministry begins… when a family makes that first call to us after they lose a loved one.”

Our ministry also involves educating families about the beauty of the Catholic Funeral Rite. The first part is the Vigil, which provides an opportunity for family and friends to gather and comfort one another. The Funeral Mass is when we release the soul of our loved one to the Lord for eternal safekeeping. The final part, the Committal, is when we say our last goodbyes to the deceased. Together, these three components guide families through the beginning of the grieving process and prepares them to mourn in a healthy and healing way.

Our ministry begins, though, when a family makes that first call to us after they lose a loved one. We guide them every step of the way — whether their family has given them the gift of preplanning or not. We pray with them too, and remind them that by laying their loved ones to rest on consecrated ground, they are helping the deceased make a final expression of faith that will live on for generations.

Many blessings.