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Guidelines for Cremation and the Catholic Church

Although the Catholic Church prefers in-ground burial or entombment of a deceased person’s body, cremation of the body prior to burial is allowed within the confines of the religion. And in fact, many Philadelphia Catholics choose this option for any number of personal reasons or because cremation service costs tend to be less than alternative methods. However, certain rules must be followed for a proper Catholic cremation.

The traditional teaching of the Catholic Church with regard to the proper burial of the sacred remains of the deceased and the resurrection of the body on the last day requires periodic catechesis. This is especially so today with the ever-increasing number of Catholic cremations. While interment of the body remains the preference of the Church, after the manner of the burial of the Lord Jesus, the use of cremation is allowed. 

Read on to learn more about the rules of cremation and the Catholic church, the cost of cremation services in Philadelphia, and how to follow the guidelines of the Catholic Church for this type of disposition.

Burial Items Required for a Catholic Cremation: 

If you believe this option is best for you and your family, consider that the Catholic guidelines for cremation require the remains be buried or entombed in much the same way a body would be. This means you will still need the following burial items:

  • Gravesite: (the space or plot within a cemetery) or mausoleum (private or public structure interring multiple people)
  • Urn: the vessel to house the cremated remains
  • Vault: a concrete enclosure that serves to protect the urn and also provides safe footing for visitors
  • Opening-and-closing service: opening a gravesite for burial, back-filling the site, and landscaping to restore the gravesite's appearance. A form of this is also required for interment in a mausoleum.

Because of the typically lower costs of cremation service, if you want your Philadelphia-area Catholic cemetery burial to be cremation, request a free,
no-obligation kit now
 to lock in today’s prices and ensure that your wishes are recorded well in advance.

Norms For Funeral Rites With Catholic Cremation: 

  • The cremated remains are to be buried in a cemetery or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium (cf. OCF, no. 417);

It is not permitted to scatter cremated remains. 
Likewise, it is not permitted to delay the burial/disposition of the cremated remains in anticipation of the eventual burial of another person.  The permanent storage of cremated remains in a private home, funeral home or any other place is prohibited. 

The integrity of the cremated remains is always to be respected.  The cremated remains of one deceased person may not be mixed with the cremated remains of another person.  It is not permitted to divide the cremated remains and retain, inter or entomb them in more than one place. 

It is also not permitted to divide the cremated remains in such a way that they are contained in lockets or jewelry.  Any other practice which violates the integrity of the cremated remains and impedes reverent and proper burial/disposition is prohibited.    

If burial takes place at sea, the cremated remains are to be in a solid and durable container, and not scattered.

  • The place of burial or entombment may be memorialized appropriately.

Cremation Services Costs in Philadelphia

Service costs for Catholic cremation can vary based on the cemetery. Before figuring out the exact cost of cremation services, you should first order a free pre-planning kit to start the process.