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Catholic Burial Guidelines

Catholic burial is unique, purposeful, healing and multi-dimensional. It is only in entering all three rites, from vigil to funeral to interment, that the full prayers of the Church can accompany the departed on their journey to God.

Diocesan Guidelines

"The Funeral Guidelines for the Diocese of San Bernardino are the fruit of consultation with other dioceses and with our parishes, priests, diocesan offices and the Presbyteral Council. They were born from a need to provide clearer instructions regarding funeral practices at a time when fewer Catholics are choosing to have funeral rites and when society as a whole is bringing more 'innovations' into the celebration of vigils, funerals and gravesides. Unfortunately, some families are even choosing not to have any kind of funeral service."

"The guidelines were developed to support you as you plan funeral services with the family of the deceased and local mortuaries."  

- Bishop Gerald R. Barnes, Letter introducing Diocesan guidelines, Jan. 10, 2014

Funeral Rites & Customs

The Catholic Church offers distinct occasions for common prayer at the time of funerals. The Order of Christian Funerals contains three clusters of Rites:
  • The Vigil
  • The Funeral Liturgy, and Final Commendation and Farewell
  • The Rite of Committal
The Funeral Rites also provide other opportunities for prayer. These Related Rites and Prayers are: Prayers after Death, Gathering in the Presence of the Body, and Transfer of the Body to the Church or to the Place of Committal.

The Funeral Rites, like all the Church's liturgy, are primarily worship of God. Care needs to be taken to preserve the integrity of the Church's prayer, and of the homily, while remaining personable and sensitive to those present.

The Rites for adults are different from the Rites for children and infants. These Rites apply to baptized Catholics, and also catechumens, unbaptized infants, and in special circumstances, those who are not Catholic.

By family preference or pastoral concern, any single rite may be used as the sole Funeral Rite. Consultation with your priest or parish minister can help determine your funeral selections.

Catholic Teaching on Death & Dying

Our faith teaches us that at the conclusion of our earthly days we continue our journey with God in eternal life. Our Lady Queen of Peace cemetery is a place where family and friends can continue to celebrate the life of a loved one who has gone to their eternal rest.

"...whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
John 11:25-26

"It is sown a natural body,; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one."
1 Cor. 15:44

"For those who die in Christ's grace it is a participation in the death of the Lord, so that they can also share his Resurrection."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1006
Diocese San Bernardino,
Mar 31, 2014, 2:01 PM