I. MUST CREMATED REMAINS be BURIED or ENTOMBED? Yes. In 1997 the Vatican gave the bishops of the United States permission to allow the celebration of the funeral Mass with cremated remains (cremains) present, provided the local bishop permits it, and Bishop Medley does. Respectful final disposition of cremated remains involves interment or entombment. Burial options include a family grave in a cemetery or an urn garden, a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns. A common practice is the entombment of the cremated remains in a “columbarium”, which is an arrangement of niches, either in a mausoleum, a room or wall into which an urn or other worthy vessel is placed for permanent memorial. The practice of keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative/friend of the deceased is not considered the reverent disposition that the Church requires (Order of Christian Funerals, appendix II #417).
II. May I SCATTER the Cremated Remains? No. 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/friend of the deceased is not considered the “reverent disposition” that the Church requires (Order of Christian Funerals, appendix II #417). Burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to its final resting place, may be dropped into the sea (See Order of Christian Funerals, #406.4). Local government should be consulted for environmental regulations.
III. Why Does the Church Consider the BODY so Important? “This is the body once washed in Baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor, fed the hungry, and embraced the sorrowing. Thus, the Church’s reverence and care for the body grows out of the reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God. However, when circumstances prevent the presence of the body at the funeral liturgy…it is appropriate that the cremated remains of the body be present for the full course of the funeral rites, including the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal. The funeral liturgy should always be celebrated in a church.” (Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Catholic Funeral Rites, Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy)
IV. Stewardship is about Gratitude! By now you should have received a Time, Talent, and Treasure renewal packet in the mail; thanks to all those who have already returned a pledge! I ask that you reflect prayerfully on your blessings, decide your annual commitment of ministry service and financial support; then complete and return your pledge as soon as possible, by Thanksgiving (November 26) at the latest. If you did not receive a packet, please call the Parish Office. You may return your pledge in the Offertory boxes in church, mail it or bring it to the Parish Office, or pledge online at www.ststephencathedral.org.
Serving and supporting our parish is the responsibility of all of us, so I am asking everyone to return a pledge. Each of us has been blessed differently. In order for our active ministries to continue, and for those which are temporarily inactive to be ready to resume as restrictions are lifted, we need your participation! You make a difference and you are greatly appreciated.
We are blessed that we are able to celebrate Mass publicly despite the pandemic, and we welcome back those who are ready to return. We do rely on our liturgical volunteers to help make each of our Masses available. We are in great need of Hospitality Ministers, Sacristans, and Altar Servers. Please pray about whether you can serve in one of these important ministries.
V. Social Concerns Outreach: Thank you for your generous support of our Social Concerns Annual Thanksgiving collections. Your generosity is indeed a blessing for those who are less fortunate. This weekend’s collection benefits the Cathedral Soup Kitchen, and our collection for Thanksgiving Day benefits our parish food pantry. THANK YOU!
VI. “At Home With the Word” books will be available again this year. It is my hope that this book will help you prepare for Sunday Masses by reading the God’s Word each week before you participate in Mass. As Saint Jerome said so well, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” I know that many of you look forward to this small gift each year! These books are available at the doors of church.
VII. Peace and Unity: Let us continue to pray for our Nation. The Rosary will be recited every weekday, Monday-Friday, after the midday Mass (also after the 7:00am Mass). Prayer cards are available at the church doors. We will pray publicly until Inauguration Day. If you are able to lead the Rosary, please call Mary Ann at 270/240-4087.