Catholic Funeral Guide

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A Holy Death

INSIDE: Planning a Catholic funeral, 4-5B, 10-11B Burial vs. cremation? 6-7B Local Catholic cemeteries and columbaria, 6B Why do we pray for the dead? 8-9B Guidance on end-of-life health care 14-17B Planned giving options 19B

November 6, 2020


A temporary memorial for the victims of COVID-19 is seen near the armory Oct. 23 in Washington, D.C. Each day the artist adds new flags to the installation as the death toll rises. As of Oct. 29, nearly 230,000 Americans had died from the novel coronavirus. CNS | TYLER ORSBURN


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The feast of All Souls’ Day, when Catholics remember and pray for the dead, had weighted significance this year when so many have died of COVID-19 and the pandemic’s restrictions prevented usual funeral services and final goodbyes in person. As of Oct. 29, about 228,000 people in the United States alone had died of COVID-19. As that number continues to rise, it is no surprise that on All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, many parishes and dioceses remembered these deaths with Masses, prayers or special altars. Conversely, because of pandemic restrictions, some dioceses also had to cancel, or at least modify or livestream, their usual All Souls’ Day commemorations often held at Catholic cemeteries. In the Los Angeles Archdiocese, scaled back All Souls’ Day plans included, as in previous years, aspects of the Mexican celebration Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrated Nov. 1-2. A vigil Mass was celebrated by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez on the evening of Nov. 1 in the outdoor courtyard of the Mausoleum of Calvary Cemetery and Mortuary in Los Angeles. At the livestreamed Mass, the archbishop also blessed the eight altars on display paying tribute to those who died in the past year, a typical feature of Day of the Dead celebrations. One of the altars specifically commemorated COVID-19 victims. For Concepción Sanchez, who placed photos of her father on the COVID-19 altar, the archdiocesan event was a means of closure. She said the Day of the Dead tradition has been something her Mexican family has done privately for the past six years since the death of one of her brothers, but this more public commemoration was something her whole family was happy she did since they could not say goodbye in person to their dad, grandfather and husband, Blas Mena Espinoza, who died a month and a half after

‘I think we are going back to simple things,’ holding onto faith, when typical rituals and ways of being together to comfort each other aren’t possible, said Verbum Dei Sister Rosalia Meza. contracting the coronavirus. He was 68. One of Espinoza’s sons contracted COVID-19 in July at his work, from someone who was asymptomatic, and it quickly spread to most of the family, to other brothers and their mother, who also has diabetes. Espinoza went to the emergency room in August where he was intubated; he died at the hospital Sept. 8. “We thought he would get better. We didn’t get to say goodbye,” Sanchez, a mother of three, told Catholic News Service Oct. 28. She placed photos of her dad and his favorite hobby, woodworking, on the altar. “He wanted the family to be together all the time,” she said. Her dad always had a positive attitude and would say: “No matter what happens in life, always have a smile, say to God, ‘Thank you for all the good things and bad things.’ He would always have a smile; he would always joke with people and would never show pain.” Sanchez choked up when talking about her father, who came to the United States in his early 20s and worked in construction. She said remembering him at this event was a small way to celebrate his life, but it also joined her family with others who have experienced a similar loss.

“In a bigger way, it’s for everyone, too,” she said, noting the COVID-19 altar featured a globe at the top representing all those around the world who have died because of the coronavirus. Sister Rosalia Meza, a Verbum Dei sister, who is director of the Office of Religious Education in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said even though the Mass and altar blessings could not draw as many people as in previous years, it was still, or even more so, “very significant.” “It’s simple with a lot of meaning,” she added. She said some parishes in the archdiocese did beautiful things to honor the dead – a way to show that even when family members and friends cannot be together in person, “the people we love are remembered ... the connection is there.” “I think we are going back to simple things,” holding onto faith, when typical rituals and ways of being together to comfort each other aren’t possible, she said. Sister Meza spoke from experience: her grandfather died in late October in Mexico and she was unable to attend his funeral. Paulist Father Larry Rice, who lives in Austin, Texas, and is currently between assignments, said the Day of the Dead celebrations in Texas were curbed due to the pandemic, but even when done simply at home – the Catholic expression of the domestic Church – these celebrations serve as reminders of connections between loved ones living and dead. He said the Church’s celebration of All Souls’ Day is a reminder that the “bonds of love and affection that we form in life do not dissolve in death,” quoting a prayer from the Mass of Christian Burial. All Souls’ Day was initiated in the 11th century by St. Odilo of Cluny, the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey in Cluny, France, who urged those in his monastery to pray for the souls in purgatory every Nov. 2. This practice spread to other Benedictine monasteries, and local bishops also began adopting it. A few centuries later it was instituted by the Church as a day of prayer for the souls in purgatory, following the Nov. 1 celebration of All Saints’ Day.


Vatican extends time to obtain full indulgences for souls in purgatory


Did you know? All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, commemorates the faithful departed – those who die with God’s grace and friendship. Not everyone who dies in God’s grace is immediately ready for the goodness of God and heaven, so we must be purified of the temporal effects of sin. The Church calls this purification of the elect “purgatory.” Church teaching on purgatory essentially requires belief in two realities: there will be a purification of believers prior to entering heaven, and the prayers and Masses of the faithful in some way benefit those in the state of purification. As to the duration, place and exact nature of this purification, the Church has no official dogma, although St. Augustine and others used fire as a way to explain the nature of the purification. — and


VATICAN CITY — Plenary or full indulgences traditionally obtained during the first week of November for the souls of the faithful in purgatory can now be gained throughout the entire month of November, the Vatican said. Also, those who are ill or homebound and would not be able to physically visit a church or cemetery in the prescribed timeframe still will be able to receive a plenary indulgence when meeting certain conditions, the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, said in a notice released Oct. 23. The tribunal also asked that priests be particularly generous throughout November in offering the sacrament of reconciliation and in administering Communion to those who are infirm. The new provisions were made after a number of bishops asked for guidance as to how the faithful could perform the works required for receiving a plenary indulgence given the ongoing pandemic and restrictions in many parts of the world limiting the number of people who can gather in one place, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, told Vatican News Oct. 23. Traditionally, the faithful could receive a full indulgence each day from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 when they visited a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and, in particular, when they went to a church or an oratory to pray Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day. Bishops’ conferences in countries where large numbers of faithful traditionally go to confession, attend Mass and visit cemeteries during the week had asked how the faithful could be accommodated given COVID-19 restrictions or in the case that a member of the faithful was ill, in isolation or in quarantine, the cardinal said. The Vatican decided to extend the time one can receive a full indulgence to include the whole month of November, he said. Typically, only a partial indulgence is granted after the first week of November. The full indulgence traditionally offered Nov. 2 for those who visit a church or an oratory and recite the Our Father and the Creed can also be gained any day in November, he added. Those who cannot leave their homes or residence for “serious reasons,” which includes government restrictions during a pandemic, he said, also can receive a plenary indulgence after reciting specific prayers for the deceased or reflecting on a Gospel reading designated for Masses of the dead before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, or by performing a work of mercy. In all cases, one also must fulfill the normal requirements set by the church for all plenary indulgences, which demonstrate a resolve to turn away from sin and convert to God. Those conditions include: n having a spirit detached from sin n going to confession as soon as possible n receiving the Eucharist as soon as possible n praying for the pope’s intentions n being united spiritually with all the faithful Cardinal Piacenza said his office also strongly urged all priests to celebrate Mass three times on All Souls’ Day, as allowed for in a 1915 document by Pope Benedict XV. The hope is that the availability of more Masses that day would help everyone wanting to attend Mass to do so while respecting capacity limits in churches and places of worship, he said. The Church teaches that prayer, particularly the Mass, and sacrifices may be offered on behalf of the souls in purgatory. The feast of All Souls differs from the Nov. 1 feast of All Saints precisely because it offers prayers for the eternal peace and heavenly rest of all those who died in a state of grace, but not totally purified. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

The Church teaches that prayer, particularly the Mass, and sacrifices may be offered on behalf of the souls in purgatory.


Father John Putnam, pastor of St. Mark Church in Huntersville, and Father Alfonso Gámez, parochial vicar, celebrated a Mass and blessed graves at Northlake Memorial Garden Cemetery for All Souls’ Day in 2019.


Catholic funeral rites explained Editor’s note: St. Mark Church in Huntersville has ‘At the death produced this guide to funeral planning that is applicable for Catholics. While each pastor sets his own guidelines within the Church’s “Order of Christian of a Christian, Funerals,” we offer this guide as a reference for your family to consider and discuss: whose life of faith was begun Introduction Upon the death of a loved one, please contact the funeral home so that they may assist you in in the waters making the necessary funeral arrangements. We encourage parishioners to do pre-planning of baptism and to make a difficult time easier for your family. Funeral home services are very willing to help in this process. strengthened at youNormally, the funeral home will contact the parish to secure the date and time of the funeral. the Eucharistic At St. Mark we will do everything we can to accommodate family needs, but please know that a busy parish the church may be in use for table, the Church asother events during the time period first chosen. Once the date and time have been decided, the family will be contacted by one of the parish intercedes priests or deacons to plan the Mass of Christian burial and other funeral rites. This involves on behalf of choosing readings, hymnody and discussing how family and friends might be involved in the funeral liturgy. While there is always an the deceased element of the funeral rites that are personalized to reflect the life of the deceased, it should because of its always be remembered that Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and to God for the gift of a life which confident belief thanksgiving has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is that death is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral of Christian Funerals,” no. 5). not the end, nor (“Order Catholic funeral rites consist of three principal parts or movements: the vigil or wake, the Mass Christian Burial, and the burial rites. Each of does it break the ofthese is discussed briefly here: bonds forged in The Vigil for the Deceased life.’

that each believer through baptism shares in Christ’s death and resurrection and can look for the day when all the elect will be raised up and united in the kingdom of light and peace (“Order of Christian Funerals,” no. 129). The funeral Mass includes the reception of the body, the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and final commendation and farewell.

Order of Christian Funerals, no. 4

It begins with the greeting of the family, the sprinkling of the coffin with holy water as a reminder of baptism, and the placing of the pall which symbolizes the baptismal garment. If the family so chooses, they may drape the pall over the coffin of the deceased. The entrance procession follows with the ministers leading the coffin and family members into the church. During the procession an entrance hymn will be sung. The family remains standing with the remainder of the congregation in the pews until the conclusion of the opening prayer. It is our practice at St. Mark to place a crucifix and Bible on the coffin at the conclusion of the entrance procession. These symbols of Christian life are carried in the entrance procession and can be placed on the coffin by family members of the family chooses to do so. Otherwise, they will be placed by one of the ministers.

(sometimes called the Wake)

At prayer-and-worship/ sacraments-andsacramentals/ bereavement-andfunerals: Get more information on Catholic funeral guidelines, prayers, suggested readings at funeral Masses, and more

The Vigil for the Deceased is the principal rite celebrated by the Christian community in the time after death and before the funeral liturgy. “At the vigil the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence,” “Order of Christian Funerals,” no. 56.) The Vigil can be celebrated at the funeral home, the home of the deceased or at the parish church. During the course of the Vigil service, there will be a brief proclamation of the Word of God, intercessory prayer, and blessing. If someone in the family would like to offer a personal remembrance of the deceased (eulogy) this may be done at the conclusion of the Vigil service.

At www. catholicsensibility. funeral-rites: Read the entire Order of Christian Funerals as well as explanations of each section

The Funeral Liturgy/ Mass of Christian Burial

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On the cover Detail from the Death of St. Joseph stained glass window in St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte. PHOTO BY JAMES SARKIS

The funeral liturgy is the central celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. At the funeral liturgy the community gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. Through the Holy Spirit the community is joined together in faith as one Body in Christ to reaffirm in sign and symbol, word and gesture


The rite of reception takes place at the beginning of the funeral liturgy or Mass.

the funeral Mass, those who read, since they are exercising a ministry of the Church, are to be practicing members of the Catholic Church.


At the funeral Mass, the community having been nourished by the Word of God, turns for spiritual nourishment to the Eucharistic sacrifice in which the community with the priest offers to the Father the sacrifice of the New Covenant. The Liturgy of the Eucharist takes place in the usual manner. Members of the family or friends of the deceased should bring the gifts to the altar.

The Church’s “Order of Christian Funerals” tells us that we gather with family and friends of the deceased at a Mass of Christian Burial “to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just.” FILE | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD


After the opening prayer, the Liturgy of the Word begins. The readings include an Old Testament reading (during the Easter season the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles or the Book of Revelation), a Responsorial Psalm (sung), a New Testament reading and a Gospel reading. The Order of Christian Funerals provides a complete listing of the Scripture readings that can be used in the funeral rites, and the family is encouraged to assist in making the selections of readings for the funeral. In addition, members of the family or friends of the deceased are invited to assist by serving as readers. During


The final commendation is a final farewell by the members of the community, an act of respect for one of their members, whom they entrust to the tender and merciful embrace of God. During the rite, the body is again sprinkled with holy water and incensed. The sprinkling is a reminder that through baptism the person was marked for eternal life and incensation signifies respect for the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.


At the conclusion of the funeral liturgy, the procession is formed and the body is accompanied to the place of committal. This final procession of the funeral rite mirrors the journey of human life as a pilgrimage to God’s kingdom of peace and light, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

Rite of Committal The rite of committal, the conclusion of the funeral rites, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses its hope that, with all who have gone before marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. It normally takes place beside the grave or mausoleum where the remains of the deceased are to be placed. — “Funeral Planning Guide for the Mass of Christian Burial,” St. Mark Church in Huntersville


The right to a funeral liturgy Church law stipulates that funeral services are a right, not a privilege, of all members of the Church, both the faithful and the catechumens (Canons 1176; 1183, §1). The Order of Christian Funerals also provides for the celebration of funeral rites for children whose parents intended them to be baptized (Canon 1183, §2).

‘As you consider the funeral, try to remember that planning a funeral is not a burden, but a privilege. Think of the funeral as a gift to the person who died as well as his friends and family. It is a chance for all to think about and express the value of the life that was lived. It is also a chance to say goodbye.’ “Preparing for Funeral Liturgies,” St. Matthew Church in Charlotte

“Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.” (“Order of Christian Funerals,” no. 5) “At the funeral liturgy the community gathers with the family and friends of the deceased … – to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, – to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, – and to seek strength in the proclamation of the paschal mystery. Through the Holy Spirit the community is joined together in faith as one Body in Christ to reaffirm in sign and symbol, word and gesture that each believer through baptism shares in Christ’s death and resurrection and can look to the day when all the elect will be raised up and united in the kingdom of light and peace.” (“Order of Christian Funerals,” no. 129)

During a Mass of Christian Burial, a pall is draped over the coffin of the deceased to symbolize the baptismal garment, and a crucifix and a Bible – symbols of Christian life – are placed on top. Before the final commendation, the deceased is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. The sprinkling is a reminder that through baptism the person was marked for eternal life and incensation signifies respect for the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Non-practicing Catholics may receive Catholic funerals It is an unfortunate reality that many baptized Catholics no longer practice their faith and may consider themselves to have been away from the Church for too long to be ever welcomed again by the Church. Such individuals or their families may feel uncomfortable in a church and ultimately decide against having a Catholic funeral. By our baptism, however, we have been made equal in dignity before the Lord, and the Church, our Mother, bears the suffering of all those who became her sons and daughters through baptism. Thus, the Church offers funeral rites (including a funeral Mass) even for nonpracticing Catholics and, under certain circumstances, for non-Catholic Christians. Although the deceased may not have participated fully in the life of the Church on earth, the Church longs for her separated children to share in Christ’s blessings. She desires to pray for them and with their loved ones so that their sins may be forgiven and they may dwell forever in the presence of God in heaven. — “Catholic Funeral Planning Guide,” Diocese of Portland, Maine; Canon 1183, §3

What about miscarried or stillborn babies? Depending on the possibility of your collecting the remains, the baby should be named and buried. If you are in a hospital, the remains of the baby will be sent to the pathologist. You should request that you receive the remains. Most hospitals have little caskets which they offer you. If the baby is more developed you may need to obtain a larger casket from a funeral director. You should ask your pastor for a Mass of Christian Burial and bury the baby appropriately and in a marked grave. — “Catholic Funeral Guide,” St. Michael Church in Gastonia



‘Now and at the hour of our death’ We prepare for eternal life by choosing to love and follow God now, in our daily lives and decisions. For example, through prayer and regular reception of the sacraments, especially confession and the Eucharist, we obtain grace to live in ever-deeper communion with God and with one another in lives of faith, charity and justice. We ask for Our Blessed Mother’s help now, and we entrust ourselves to her further as we “surrender ‘the hour of our death’ wholly to her care.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2677) — USCCB

What is the ordinary manner of preparing for death and burial? n Save and/or purchase insurance to properly provide for a casket, funeral services and burial.

sick, and Communion as “Viaticum.” Make sure someone calls the priest. If you are going to have surgery which requires general anesthetic, ask the priest to hear your confession and administer the sacrament of the sick before you go to the hospital.

n Remember that the Church desires the full body to be present for the Mass of Christian Burial and for the body to be buried in a cemetery.

n If you are going to be in the hospital or any nursing care facility, be sure to list the parish priest, deacon and others from the parish whom you wish to visit; otherwise, they will not be able.

n Leave instructions that someone will call the priest when death seems close.

n Make advanced plans with your parish priest for the funeral rites; read the policies of your parish for funerals.

n Ensure that someone will call the priest for the last rites (confession, anointing and Communion) before death.

n Save for the expenses of a proper Catholic funeral; most people have insurance policies for this.

Joseph, Patron of Dying and Solace of the Afflicted

n Ensure that someone will call the priest when death occurs.

n Talk with family members and your attorney. Be sure your legal documents give a Catholic understanding of caring for the sick and dying. Be sure your will provides for food and water to be given until you cannot assimilate it as a part of ordinary care when appropriate. Appropriate ordinary means of life support should also be given where there is hope of cure. Think of appointing a Health Care Power of Attorney with your instructions to be followed. (Editor’s note: See pages 14-17B for more info.)

What a blessed death to see God before you die and for God Himself to tell you to go. This was Joseph’s gift from his Son, who would hand His father over to His Father. Thus has Christ entrusted Joseph to have particular intercessory power for all those on the moment of death.

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n Live a Catholic sacramental life.

n Make provisions for your funeral in your will; remember that your requests must be in agreement with your parish priest and the Church.

n Develop a Catholic understanding of life and death.

n Contact a funeral home to make pre-arrangements.

n Pray to St. Joseph, patron of a happy death.

n Purchase a burial site.

n The Prayers for the Dead are to be prayed. (Editor’s note: See page 9B for more info.) n The body is prepared for burial by family or the funeral directors. n Arrange for someone to meet with the funeral director to begin preparing for the funeral rites.

How should I prepare for a good death?

n Develop an understanding of the Catholic funeral rites. n Prepare with a good confession, the anointing of the

— “Catholic Funeral Guide,” St. Michael Church in Gastonia

At Learn more about St. Joseph’s virtues and titles, find intercessory prayers to St. Joseph, and more educational resources for the Diocese of Charlotte’s Year of St. Joseph



Catholic cemeteries are important in the life of the Church. Cemeteries St. James the Greater Church, Concord St. Frances of Rome Mission, Sparta St. Helen Mission, Spencer Mountain (parishioners only) St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jefferson

Cemeteries with columbaria (Right) St. Matthew Church is one of 25 parishes in the diocese with a columbarium. Other parishes have traditional cemeteries, or a combination of both options.

Immaculate Conception Mission, Canton Holy Family Church, Clemmons (parishioners only) Holy Cross Church, Kernersville Sacred Heart Church, Salisbury


St. John the Evangelist Church, Waynesville

Cemeteries vs. columbaria in the Diocese of Charlotte? Did you know? In general in the United States, burial options include: in-ground burial with monument graves, flush marker graves, lawn crypts or family estate lots; above-ground burial in mausoleums; and cremation with interment in mausoleum niches, columbaria, or in-ground in cremation graves or lawn crypts.

Columbaria only St. Elizabeth Church, Boone Sacred Heart Church, Brevard (full) St. Joan of Arc Church, Candler (full) St. Gabriel Church, Charlotte (full) St. Matthew Church, Charlotte St. Peter Church, Charlotte

Church law (Canon 1240) stipulates, “Where possible, the Church is to have its own cemeteries or at least areas in civil cemeteries that are designated for the deceased members of the faithful and properly blessed.” Because of limited space at many parishes across the diocese, a cemetery on parish grounds is not always practicable. Identifiably Catholic sections in public cemeteries have become an alternative option, as well as columbaria on parish grounds. But columbaria for cremated remains cannot be the only option provided. Diocesan policy states: “If a parish wishes to make a columbarium available to the faithful, it will also make available at the same location as the columbarium, spaces for burial of the bodies of the deceased. The number of spaces available for placing cremated remains in a columbarium shall not be more than the number of spaces available for burial of bodies of the deceased. The expectation is that more spaces will be available for burial of the bodies of the deceased than spaces in a columbarium for the placing of cremated remains, since burial of the body is the norm of Christian burial.”

St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Charlotte St. Vincent de Paul Church, Charlotte (full) Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission, Hayesville St. Aloysius Church, Hickory Christ the King Church, High Point Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, High Point (full) Our Lady of the Mountains Mission, Highlands St. Paul the Apostle Church, Greensboro St. Pius X Church, Greensboro (full, with waiting list) St. Margaret of Scotland Church, Maggie Valley (full) St. Luke Church, Mint Hill (full)

At Read the Diocese of Charlotte’s full policy on cemeteries and columbaria The grave marker for Bishop William Curlin at Belmont Abbey Cemetery commemorates not only his birth and death dates, but also his dates of ordination as a priest and as a bishop. SUEANN HOWELL | CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD

‘The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.’ Canon 1176, §3

St. William Church, Murphy St. Margaret Mary Church, Swannanoa St. Leo the Great Church, Winston-Salem (full)

Public cemeteries with Catholic sections Stanly Gardens, Albemarle Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte Westlawn Cemetery, Clemmons Northlake Memorial Gardens, Huntersville Forest Lawn East Cemetery, Matthews




If cremation is desired for legitimate reasons, the Church prefers that the funeral liturgy occur before cremation. Cremated remains are always to be buried or interred.

‘Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites.

How should a Catholic plan for cremation? First , discuss your questions with a knowledgeable pastor or parish staff person. Second, if your decision is to be cremated, make your wishes known in your will or in documents designed to help plan your funeral and burial. Provide copies of these documents to family members, your pastor, funeral home, or Catholic cemetery. Lastly, as you plan, keep in mind the therapeutic value to your family of celebrating the full funeral liturgy with the body present.

When should cremation take place? The Church prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body. Sometimes, however, it is not possible for the body to be present for the funeral liturgy. When extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of the body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by all who minister to the family of the deceased. Think of cremation of the body and committal of the remains as the conclusion of a funeral with the body.

What does a Catholic do with the cremated remains after the funeral liturgy is completed? The Church requires that the cremated remains be either buried in the ground in a cemetery or placed in a mausoleum or columbarium, preferably in a Catholic cemetery. The Church recommends that the place of burial or entombment be permanently memorialized with a traditional memorial stone, crypt/niche front, or bronze plaque, minimally marking the name and dates of birth and death of the deceased person. Since the human body was the temple of the Holy Spirit during life, was fed at the Eucharistic table, and will share in the bodily resurrection, contemporary cultural practices like scattering the cremated remains over water or from the air or keeping the cremated remains at home are not considered reverent forms of disposition that the Church requires. Other practices such as commingling cremated remains or dividing up cremated remains among family members or friends are not acceptable for Catholics. —

Order of Christian Funerals’ Appendix on Cremation, no. 413 PHOTO PROVIDED BY JOAN GUTHRIE

The entrance to the columbarium at St. Peter Church in Charlotte.

CREMATION: Q&A on the proper handling of ashes CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In 1963, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an instruction permitting cremation as long as it was not done as a sign of denial of the basic Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead. The permission was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law in 1983 and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in 1990. Church law, however, had not specified exactly what should be done with “cremains,” so several bishops’ conferences asked the congregation to provide guidance. That request led to “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” (“To Rise With Christ”), an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation,” issued Oct. 25, 2016. The document was approved by Pope Francis after consultation with other Vatican offices and with bishops’ conferences and the Eastern Churches’ synods of bishops. The document has prompted many Catholics to ask whether it changes any regulations about cremation. Catholic News Service provided some of those questions to the staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship to be answered: Q: The 2016 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith spells out regulations regarding cremation. Does it change anything in how the Church in this country has regulated this issue? A: No, the document from the CDF doesn’t change anything for us in this country. For example, we already have permission to have a funeral Mass in the presence of cremated remains. What the instruction does do, however, is reiterate the Church’s preference for the burial of the body in normal circumstances, and, when cremation is necessary, its insistence that the remains be properly interred. Q: If the document says that traditional burial is preferred, does that mean cremation is wrong? A: If the Church saw cremation as “wrong,” it wouldn’t permit it. Sometimes cremation can truly be necessary. However, the ancient custom and the preference of the Church is to bury the body, whenever possible. Q: What should I do if I’ve already scattered the ashes? A: We can’t change the past, of course, and if you truly didn’t realize at that time that it shouldn’t be done, then you shouldn’t burden yourself with guilt. Remember that what happens to a

person’s body after death has no bearing on what happens when that person’s soul meets the Lord on judgment day. However, you might wish to offer extra prayers for the person’s happy repose. Q: If I plan to donate my body to science, after which it will be cremated, is that OK? What if the laboratory disposes of these ashes? A: This would seem to be a valid reason for cremation. However, it would be important to make sure that arrangements are made for a funeral Mass, and that a trusted relative or friend is able to receive the remains and see to their proper burial. Q: How do I convince my dad to let me bury my mother’s ashes, which he now has at home? A: Only you would know the best way to approach a situation like that, and it would depend a lot on his reasons for keeping the remains and on his own personal faith. Perhaps making him aware of the Church’s preference would be enough to convince him? Or the assurance that his own earthly remains will one day be buried alongside those of his wife? Also, the Vatican’s instruction itself articulates some compelling reasons: “The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect…” (5). Q: Many people die and are never buried properly. Perhaps they die at sea or in an explosion or whatever. Why is the Vatican worried about something like this when there are so many other problems in the world? A: This instruction isn’t concerned with those kinds of situations. Burial at sea is necessary at times, as is cremation. The main purpose for this instruction is to help foster a healthy respect for the human body, even after death, especially in light of the move in recent years away from traditional burial in favor of more expedient and economical means. Where contemporary culture today may well question what difference it makes, the Church is reminding us to recall that the human body is an integral part of the human person deserving of respect even after death. The earliest Christians buried the bodies of their dead, and this set them apart from many of their contemporaries. We bury our dead out of reverence for God our Creator, and as a sign that we look forward to the resurrection on the last day.

‘The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, and the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains at the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.’ Order of Christian Funerals’ Appendix on Cremation, no. 417



Many parishes have bereavement ministries or grief support groups. Check your parish’s website or bulletin, or call the parish office. Offering Masses for the dead The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic Sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God” (1032). It is normal to have a Mass offered as soon as possible for the deceased. Most people leave provision for this in their wills. When possible the “month’s mind,” a Mass on the one-month anniversary and then on other anniversaries, is a good practice. If Masses are not available on those days in your parish, your parish priest may be able to send them to be offered in the missions. Arranging a Mass for a deceased loved one is easy. Simply contact a Catholic church in the community where you would like to have the Mass celebrated, or at your own parish if you would like to attend the Mass. A stipend of usually $5-$20 per Mass is offered for the priest who will offer the Mass. Every parish has a Mass offering book, usually kept at the parish secretary’s desk, so that when you call or stop by the parish it is easy to ask for a Mass intention. Sometimes you may be able to pick a specific day to have the Mass celebrated in memory of the deceased, but at times you may have to accept whatever date is available. You will receive a Mass card from the parish with the time, date and church name where the Mass will be offered. You can give the Mass card to the family of the deceased so they know when the Mass will be offered in their loved one’s honor. Don’t forget to mark down the details on your own calendar so that you can attend the Mass or remember to offer your prayers on that day.

Why is it important to have a grave? Our cemeteries are places of great sign value as were the catacombs of old. The grave and the marker are visible signs that a person did live and that it mattered that he or she lived. Years from now someone will walk by our graves and remember us and that it was important that we lived and died. Cemeteries are places of catechesis about death and they are places of prayer in the context of the communion of saints and our waiting for the final coming of the Lord. We visit the grave often to pray for the deceased and we decorate the graves regularly, especially on Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day. — “Catholic Funeral Guide,” St. Michael Church in Gastonia


Praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Praying for the dead might not make sense to nonbelievers but for Catholics it is part and parcel of the faith tradition, rooted in Old Testament readings and supported by the Catechism and the Church’s funeral liturgy. “Our faith teaches us to pray for the dead,” said Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Ill., in a 2015 All Saints’ Day reflection, stressing that although people hope that those who die are with God and the angels and saints, it is not necessarily a guarantee. “Scripture teaches that all of the dead shall be raised. However, only the just are destined for the kingdom of God,” the bishop wrote. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the clearest Bible reference about prayers for the dead is from the Second Book of Maccabees. When soldiers were preparing the bodies of their slain comrades for burial they discovered they were wearing amulets taken from a pagan temple which violated the law of Deuteronomy so they prayed that God would forgive the sin these men had committed. The New Testament echoes this notion in the second letter of Timothy when Paul prays for someone who died named Onesiphorus, saying: “May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church also has something to say about prayers for the dead, stating: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (1030). The Roman catacombs where early Christians were buried also were places of prayer. Today, prayers for the dead begin at the moment of death, often when family members are gathered around the bedside of the person who has died. Prayers for death and grieving are among the “Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers,” published in 2007 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that includes prayers immediately after death, prayers for mourners, prayers at the graveside and a more general prayer for the dead. Of course these prayers continue in the funeral liturgy, which is the “central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased,” according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’

Did you know?

overview of Catholic funeral rites, online at The acronym “RIP” or bereavement-and-funerals/overview-ofR.I.P. is an abbreviation catholic-funeral-rites.cfm. of the Latin phrase The funeral liturgy, the website points “requiescat in pace” out, is “an act of worship, and not merely or the English “Rest in an expression of grief.” peace.” It is a time when the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased “to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery,” it adds. The prayers in the funeral liturgy express hope that God will free the person who has died from any burden of sin and prepare a place for him or her in heaven. “The funeral rite is a prayer for the dead, designated by the Church as the liturgy of Christian burial,” wrote Bishop Braxton in his reflection. He noted that many parishes “regularly disregard” the emphasis of this liturgy by printing funeral programs which say: “the Mass of the Resurrection: A Celebration of Life,’ even though the person has obviously not yet been raised from the dead.” According to the Catechism, most Catholics who don’t merit hell still need purification before entering heaven and pass through a state when they die that the Church describes as purgatory. In a question-and-answer page on, a Paulist-run website, Paulist Father Joe Scott said praying for the dead has “further origins in our belief in the communion of saints.” The priest, an associate pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Community in Los Angeles, added that living members of this communion can “assist each other in faith by prayers and other forms of spiritual support.” “Christians who have died continue to be members of the communion of saints,” he wrote. “We believe that we can assist them by our prayers, and they can assist us by theirs.”

Pray regularly for the faithful departed, especially on Nov. 2 (All Souls’ Day).




Prayers for the dead The Mass is the highest form of prayer in the Church, and the most effective prayer that could be said on behalf of those who have gone before us. In Masses for the dead, and especially funeral Masses, “the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ’s Pasch for the dead so that, since all the members of Christ’s Body are in communion with one another, what implores spiritual help for some, may bring comforting hope to others.” (“General Instruction of the Roman Missal,” 379)



Memorial candles are seen next to a statue of St. Paul in a mausoleum alcove at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, N.Y.

With death anniversaries, many find comfort in rituals time,” it adds. Many cultures celebrate the death anniversary of loved ones by gathering together as families and sharing special foods. Catholics often mark the anniversary of a loved one’s death by attending Mass or having a Mass offered for the deceased. Catholics also celebrate feast days which are the anniversaries of saints’ deaths. The anniversaries of deaths of loved ones will likely not be celebrated in the same manner as they are for major saints: with festivals and parades through streets, but recollections on this day share the same idea: recalling when one’s life on earth ended and eternal life began. For many people, the idea of being festive on the anniversary of someone’s death is hard to imagine and might never happen, but for those grieving a loss there are signs that healing has begun and that comfort or renewed strength is present. Father Eamon Tobin, pastor of Ascension Catholic Community in Melbourne, Fla., who wrote a parish column about coping with loss, says signs of healing after grief include:


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A tricky thing about grief is that it is not a one-shot deal. Although it is often strongest when it’s first experienced, it can sneak up at any time. It especially reappears on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Some have labeled these days as “deathversaries” and even though they are days that can bring up painful memories, they should not be ignored nor do they need to be completely depressing. The internet, which is not always a place of solace, actually has plenty of advice for coping with anniversaries of a loved one’s death. Websites including or offer the following suggestions: n Take flowers to the gravesite or other place where you remember your loved one. n Look at old photos and home videos or put digital photos into photo album. n Volunteer with a charity or cause your loved one liked, or make a donation to the charity in his or her name. n Host a dinner party and invite those who knew this person best and cook foods they liked or gather at the person’s favorite restaurant. n Do something your loved one would have enjoyed. n Write about your loved one; write them a letter or plant a tree in their name. n Take the day off work. n Ask friends or family members for help. The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minn., notes on its website,, that reawakened grief can occur years after a loss, particularly when people are confronted with reminders of their loved one’s death. The site advises people to be prepared,


Pictured is a statue of St. Joseph at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte. St. Joseph is patron of the dying. especially for anniversary reactions and to plan a distraction for the day or reminisce about the relationship. It reiterates some of the suggestions previously mentioned and also urges people to allow themselves to “feel a range of emotions. It’s OK to be sad and feel a sense of loss, but also allow yourself to experience joy and happiness. As you celebrate special times, you might find yourself both laughing and crying.” “There’s no time limit for grief, and anniversary reactions can leave you reeling. Still, the intensity of grief tends to lessen with

n Being able to talk about your loved one in a more comfortable manner. n Realizing that while “life is not the same, it can be good again.” n Grief becomes less engrossing. n New inner resources are developed or strengthened. “Grief work, though very painful,” he writes, “is good and holy.” The priest also wrote that “grief is the way God intended for us to deal with loss.” He said the “world’s way is denial. It tells us to ‘move on’ even before we have started to grieve. Grief work (and it is work) is the only thing that will heal our loss or at least help us to live with it.”

As death approaches, the Church stays close to the one who is dying, to give comfort and support. The family should ask that Communion be brought to the dying (this is called “Viaticum,” Latin for “food for the journey”). Members of the local church may wish to join the family in a vigil of prayer. After the person’s death, the family is encouraged to continue praying, and to participate in the preparation of the vigil (wake) and funeral liturgies. The following prayer may be recited with a dying person, alternating with times of silence. The Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be are also appropriate. The dying person may also be signed on the forehead with the cross, as was done at baptism. Holy Mary, pray for me. St. Joseph, pray for me. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH The following prayer may be recited immediately after death and may be repeated in the hours that follow: V. Eternal rest grant unto him (her), O Lord. R. And let perpetual light shine upon him (her). V. May he (she) rest in peace. R. Amen. V. May his (her) soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. R. Amen.

AT THE GRAVESIDE O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, send your holy Angel to watch over this grave. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen. At bereavement-and-funerals/ prayers-for-death-anddying: Find more prayers and Scripture readings for the dying and for the dead At www. resources/prayers: Find more prayers, including a prayer to St. Joseph for a holy death

10B November 6, 2020 |


Funeral pre-planning guide Use this worksheet to plan your funeral service or as a guide to discuss your wishes with your family Preparing and planning now can assure the type of funeral service appropriate for your loved one. Often times pre-planning and even pre-

funding your funeral arrangements can not only provide peace-of-mind to you, but also to those who suffer emotionally at the time of their loss.

Full name: _____________________________________________________________________________ Social Security Number: __________________________________________________________________________ Date of birth: ________________________________________________________ Place of birth: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Father’s name: _________________________________________________________________________ Mother’s maiden name: __________________________________________________________________________ Education: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marital Status: ____ Married

____ Never Married

____ Widowed

____ Divorced

Married to: _____________________________________________________________

Date: ______________________________

Place: ______________________________________________________

Children: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Places lived: ___________________________________________________________

Employment: __________________________________________________________





Civil, fraternal and other involvement: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you are a veteran, complete this information or attach copy of discharge: Veteran of which war? _________________________________________________

Place of Enlistment: _______________________ Date of Enlistment: __________

Service Number: _____________________ VA Claim Number: ______________

Place of Discharge: ________________________________

Branch of Service: ____________________ Rank: __________________________

Date of Discharge/Retirement: __________________________________________ County in which my discharge is on file with Clerk/Registrar of Deeds: ______

People to be notified immediately: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Obituary announcement to be sent to: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS Collect the following important papers and documents, and tell your family where they are kept: * Military discharge * Mortgage(s) and deeds * Will * Birth certificate * Attorney * Bank account information * Insurance policies * Stocks/bonds

* Safe deposit box * Cemetery deed * Living will or advance directive * Durable Power of Attorney

* Health Care Power of Attorney * Computer/website passwords

FUNERAL PRE-PLANNING DETAILS I have a pre-need funeral trust established with: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I have a funeral insurance policy with: __ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I have looked at caskets/urns/burial vaults and would prefer: ___________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ I have considered a marker or monument and would prefer: ___________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Memorials may be made to: ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CEMETERY INFORMATION Cemetery preferred: _________________________________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________________

Phone: _________________________________________________________________ I ____ own ____ prefer Type of burial rights: ____ Ground burial

____ Columbarium

____ Mausoleum

____ Lawn crypt

If owned, name of burial right holder is/are: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Legal description of burial rights: ____ Lot # ____ Section ____ Row ____ Block

Grave number: __________________________________________________________________

CREMATION I would prefer to be cremated.

____ Yes

If cremation, what type of disposition? ____ Burial

____ No ____ Niche

Cremation vault: ____ Yes

____ No

Donation of organs or body? Describe: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ALD SPECIAL EDITION | November 6, 2020


Funeral rites planning form FUNERAL HOME: _________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________ Phone: _________________________________________________________________________________________

PLACE OF SERVICE: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Church name) (Address)

____ Funeral Mass

____ Memorial Mass


____ Open during Wake

____ Church Service

____ Cemetery/Chapel

____ Graveside

____ Closed during Wake

Type of casket:

____ Wood

____ Metal

____ Cremation coffin

____ Other: ______________________________________________

Cremation – Type of urn:

____ Wood

____ Bronze

____ Marble

____ Other: ______________________________________________

Clergy (if preferred): _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Musical selections (in keeping with the liturgy; please consult priest or music minister): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Liturgy of the Word desired readings (please consult priest or parish office): Old Testament: ______________________________________________________________ Responsorial Psalm: _________________________________________________________ New Testament: _____________________________________________________________ Gospel: _____________________________________________________________________ Will family place a pall on casket? Use incense?

____ Yes ____ Yes

____ No ____ No

Lector 1: __________________________________________________________________________________ Lector 2: _________________________________________________________________________________ Prayers of the Faithful: _____________________________________________________________________ Offertory Gifts: ____________________________________________________________________________

____ Cross or Bible placed on casket?

WAKE/COMMITTAL SERVICE Wake/Rosary Service: ____ Yes Viewing: ____ Public

____ No

____ Private

Location: _______________________________________ Officiant: _________________________________________________________________________________

____ None

Participating organizations at Wake or Committal Service (military, fraternal, lodge, etc.): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Flag (Committal Service only): ____ Draped

____ Folded

Clothing preference: ____ From current wardrobe

____ New

Presented to: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____ Other: ___________________________________________________

Description/color: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Personal accessories:

____ Wedding band ____ Eyeglasses ____ Other

____ Stays on ____ Stays on ____ Stays on

____ or Returned to: ___________________________________________ ____ or Returned to: ___________________________________________ ____ or Returned to: ___________________________________________

Pallbearers: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Name) (Relationship) (Phone #)

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS (Include floral preferences, notes, awards, life achievements, pictures, obituary requests, items to be placed with the remains, etc.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: Share a copy of this funeral Mass plan with your family, your funeral home (if you have a pre-plan), and your parish office.

At Download a copy of these forms to use with any funeral home or funeral pre-planning guide | November 6, 2020 12B CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD SPECIAL EDITION

What is pre-planning? Pre-planning is making your cemetery and funeral arrangements before your death. This allows your wishes to be known, thus eliminating an incredible burden on your loved ones during the very stressful and painful hours after your death. Pre-planning is a concrete sign of your love for surviving family members.

What are the benefits of pre-planning? The most obvious benefit is that you will relieve your loved ones of the burden of making your cemetery and funeral arrangements at a time of tremendous grief. Your advance planning will give your family the guidance they need to feel comfortable that they are carrying out the decisions you made. Pre-planning may prevent disagreement among survivors at an emotionally charged time and can assure that emotional over-spending does not occur. By pre-planning and pre-funding cemetery and funeral arrangements, you might be creating exempt assets should you ever have to go on public assistance. The costs of cemetery property have been escalating at the rate of 100 percent every 10 years. By purchasing in advance, you are locking in today’s pricing.

At what age should I consider pre-planning cemetery and funeral arrangements? Adults of any age who make their own decisions should have a plan. Like your will, it can be revised throughout your life as needs change. In general, the earlier you preplan the more options you have. Your cemetery and funeral options

will probably never cost less than they do today. Statistics show that 43 percent of all deaths are unexpected; we are not guaranteed any tomorrows. In our culture, few families are comfortable discussing death and loss. This is just one of those things that does not get easier as time goes by. Now is the best time for you to get your plan in order.

Why should I choose to be buried in a Catholic cemetery? First and foremost, Catholic cemeteries are a vital part of our Church’s heritage of caring for and burying the bodies of the dead in blessed ground — one of the corporal works of mercy. —

Can I donate my body to a university? Yes. But you must be sure that the body will be buried properly when the experimentations are completed. In this case a Mass should be offered for the deceased.

Also online At Learn more about preneed funeral trusts, funeral insurance, cremation vs. burial costs, and how to calculate funeral costs At See a list of local parishes’ funeral planning guides

‘A person tends to die as he has lived. If my life has been a journey with the Lord, a journey of trust in His immense mercy, I will be prepared to accept the final moment of my earthly life as the definitive, confident abandonment into His welcoming hands, awaiting the face to face contemplation of His Face. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to us: to contemplate face to face the marvellous countenance of the Lord, to see Him as He is, beautiful, full of light, full of love, full of tenderness.’ — Pope Francis General Audience of Nov. 27, 2013


Rely on the Knights of Columbus to protect your family’s future.

Bob Gordon Field Agent



Carolina Funeral Service & Cremation Center Funeral Service, Cremation Services, Church Services Direct Cremation, International Shipping of the deceased Pre-Planned & Pre-Paid Arrangements se habla español Steve Kuzma & Zachary Boan Funeral Service Licensees Malenny Cosme Office Administrator & Hispanic Relations 5505 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28212 704-568-0023




Life itself is always a good, and is a quality that can never be lost. Ordinary/ proportionate vs. extraordinary/ disproportionate means of preserving life Ordinary or proportionate means are those that (in the judgment of the patient assisted by health care professionals) offer a reasonable hope of benefit and do not entail an excessive burden or impose excessive expense on the family or the community. A person has a moral obligation to use ordinary means. Extraordinary or disproportionate means are those that (in the judgment of the patient assisted by health care professionals) do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit, do entail an excessive burden, or do impose excessive expense on the family or the community. A person may forgo extraordinary means.

Nutrition and hydration In  principle, there is an obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration for those who cannot take food orally. Medically assisted nutrition and hydration become morally optional when they cannot reasonably be expected to prolong life or when they would be excessively burdensome for the patient or would cause significant physical discomfort.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide Euthanasia is an act or omission that of itself or by intention causes death to alleviate suffering. Catholics may never condone or participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide in any way. Dying patients who request euthanasia should receive loving care, psychological and spiritual support, and appropriate remedies for pain and other symptoms so that they can live with dignity until the time of natural death. — National Catholic Bioethics Center. Learn more online at

A note on general principles regarding end-of-life care The Church affirms the inviolable dignity of every person, regardless of the duration or extent of the person’s incapacity or dependency.

No summary can substitute for thorough catechesis, but some general principles are clear. We are entrusted by God with the gift of life, and in response, we care for our lives and health in obedience and gratitude to our Creator. This obliges us to make use of appropriate, effective medical care. However, even effective treatments may at times impose such a great burden that we, in good conscience, may forgo or discontinue them. This applies even to life-sustaining treatments. Of course, nothing should be done or deliberately omitted to hasten death. The Church affirms the inviolable dignity of every person, regardless of the duration or extent of the person’s incapacity or dependency. Nothing diminishes the unchangeable dignity and sanctity of a person’s life, or the obligation to protect and care for it. In principle, assisted feeding and hydration should be provided unless it cannot sustain life or is unduly burdensome to the patient, or if death is imminent whether it is provided or not. Moreover, no one should choose suicide, nor counsel or assist another to take his or her own life.


Judging the effect and burden of treatments can be difficult, especially as death draws near. To understand health facts and treatment options, we need professional medical advice. To understand Catholic moral teaching, we need to consult Church teaching and those who can faithfully explain it.


After informing our consciences, we need to inform our families. If we are unable to make decisions, they

most often have legal authority to make surrogate decisions on our behalf. Or we may designate a health care agent by a durable power of attorney. Though it is often helpful to also have written, signed documentation, no living will “check box” can ever replace clear conversations about our faith-guided principles. The best option is to choose an agent who will make medical decisions on our behalf in accord with our Catholic faith and Church teaching. We should also inform family of our pastoral care preferences, and make clear that after death, we desire prayer, funeral rites and Christian burial.


Those who are sick should not be alone, as multiple popes have reminded us in messages for the annual World Day of the Sick. Patients who have serious or life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families, can be provided with physical, psychological, and spiritual care through team-based palliative care. Hospice care can provide similar integrated care for those nearing death and for their families. Pastoral care is integral to both palliative and hospice care, and includes making available the sacraments: Eucharist, confession, anointing of the sick and Viaticum. It also includes supportive prayer and support for decision-makers. It may be helpful to familiarize ourselves with local services available in preparation for our own passing or that of loved ones. Even after death, accompaniment continues. Our prayers can help those who are being purified in purgatory, so it is a spiritual work of mercy to pray for those who have died. — USCCB




Vatican reaffirms, clarifies Church teachings on end-of-life care CAROL GLATZ CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY — With the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia in many countries, and questions concerning what is morally permissible regarding end-oflife care, the Vatican’s doctrinal office released a 25-page letter offering “a moral and practical clarification” on the care of vulnerable patients. “The Church is convinced of the necessity to reaffirm as definitive teaching that euthanasia is a crime against human life because, in this act, one chooses directly to cause the death of another innocent human being,” the document said. Titled, “‘Samaritanus bonus,’ on the Care of Persons in the Critical and Terminal Phases of Life,” the letter by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was approved by Pope Francis in June, and released to the public Sept. 22. A new, “systematic pronouncement by the Holy See” was deemed necessary given a growing, global trend in legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide, and changing attitudes and rules that harm the dignity of vulnerable patients, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, congregation prefect, said at a Vatican news conference Sept. 22. It was also necessary to reaffirm Church teaching regarding the administration of the sacraments to and pastoral care of patients who expressly request a medical end to their life, he said. “In order to receive absolution in the sacrament of penance, as well as with the anointing of the sick and the viaticum,” he said, the patients must demonstrate their intention to reverse their decision to end their life and to cancel their registration with any group appointed to grant their desire for euthanasia or assisted suicide. In the letter’s section on “Pastoral discernment toward those who request euthanasia or assisted suicide,” it said a “priest could administer the sacraments to an unconscious person ‘sub condicione’ if, on the basis of some signal given by the patient beforehand, he can presume his or her repentance.” The Church’s ministers can still accompany patients who have made these end-of-life directives, it added, by showing “a willingness to listen and to help, together with a deeper explanation of the nature of the sacrament, in order to provide the opportunity to desire and choose the sacrament up to the last moment.” It is important to carefully look for “adequate signs of conversion, so that the faithful can reasonably ask for the reception of the sacraments. To delay absolution is a medicinal act of the Church, intended not to condemn, but to lead the sinner to conversion,” it said.

Euthanasia is an act of homicide that no end can justify, but patients have the right to decline aggressive medical treatment when approaching the natural end of life. However, it added, “those who spiritually assist these persons should avoid any gesture, such as remaining until the euthanasia is performed, that could be interpreted as approval of this action.” Chaplains, too, must show care “in the health care systems where euthanasia is practiced, for they must not give scandal by behaving in a manner that makes them complicit in the termination of human life,” the letter said. Another warning in the letter regarded medical end-of-life protocols, such as “do not resuscitate orders” or “physician orders for life-sustaining treatment” and any of their variations. These protocols “were initially thought of as instruments to avoid aggressive medical treatment in the terminal phases of life. Today, these protocols cause serious problems regarding the duty to protect the life of patients in the most critical stages of sickness,” it said. On the one hand, it said, “medical staff feel increasingly bound by the self-determination expressed in patient declarations that deprive physicians of their freedom and duty to safeguard life even where they could do so.” “On the other hand, in some health care settings, concerns have recently arisen about the widely reported abuse of such protocols viewed in a euthanistic perspective with the result that neither patients nor families are consulted in final decisions about care,” it said. “This happens above all in the countries where, with the legalization of euthanasia, wide margins of ambiguity are left open in end-of-life law regarding the meaning of obligations to provide care.” The Church, however, “is obliged to intervene in order to exclude once again all ambiguity in the teaching of the magisterium concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide, even where these practices have been legalized,” it said. Euthanasia involves “an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all pain may in this way be eliminated.”

Its definition depends on “the intention of the will and in the methods used,” it added. The letter reaffirmed that “any formal or immediate material cooperation in such an act is a grave sin against human life,” making euthanasia “an act of homicide that no end can justify and that does not tolerate any form of complicity or active or passive collaboration.” For that reason, “those who approve laws of euthanasia and assisted suicide, therefore, become accomplices of a grave sin that others will execute. They are also guilty of scandal because by such laws they contribute to the distortion of conscience, even among the faithful.” The letter also underlined a patient’s right to decline aggressive medical treatment and “die with the greatest

possible serenity and with one’s proper human and Christian dignity intact” when approaching the natural end of life. “The renunciation of treatments that would only provide a precarious and painful prolongation of life can also mean respect for the will of the dying person as expressed in advanced directives for treatment, excluding however every act of a euthanistic or suicidal nature,” it said. However, it also underlined the rights of physicians as never being “a mere executor of the will of patients or their legal representatives, but retains the right and obligation to withdraw at will from any course of action contrary to the moral good discerned by conscience.” Other aspects of end-of-life care the letter detailed included: the obligation to provide basic care of nutrition and hydration; the need for holistic palliative care; support for families and hospice care; the required accompaniment and care for unborn and newly-born children diagnosed with a terminal disease; the use of “deep palliative sedation”; obligation of care for patients in a “vegetative state” or with minimal consciousness; and conscientious objection by health care workers.

Read ‘Samaritanus bonus’ online At Read the full text of “‘Samaritanus bonus,’ on the Care of Persons in the Critical and Terminal Phases of Life”

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What kind of legal documents or arrangements about your end-of-life medical care should you have?

The details of a patient’s medical condition at a specific time need to be considered. More online At What are the Church’s teachings on end-of-life decisions and how difficult will it be to follow them? Must we endure a great deal of pain? What if I am no longer able to make medical decisions for myself? Order or download a copy of “A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions,” which describes how you might approach end-of-life decisions in light of the teachings of the Church.

An “Advance Medical Directive” and “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” (or “Health Care Proxy”) are legal documents that take effect if the patient becomes incompetent. Even though these documents can be written without the assistance of an attorney, some states give them considerable legal weight. An Advance Medical Directive specifies what medical procedures the patient wishes to receive or to avoid. (An Advance Medical Directive sometimes is called “A Living Will,” but because of its association with the advocacy of euthanasia, we have chosen to avoid this phrase.) Durable Power of Attorney specifies a particular individual (variously called a “proxy,” “agent,” or “surrogate”) to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient (or the “principal”) when the patient is no longer able to do so. When neither of these instruments is drawn up, the task of making important medical decisions usually falls to the family. Most states have laws governing the use and implementation of the Advance Medical Directive and Durable Power of Attorney. All hospitals and health care facilities are required by law to provide written information to the patient about the right to accept or refuse medical treatment and the right to formulate an Advance Directive and/or designate Durable Power of Attorney. The health care facility must also provide written policies stating how the patient’s Advance Directive or Durable Power of Attorney will be implemented. People should remember that they do not have to sign any Advance Directive given to them by the hospital.


Make certain that your Advance Directive forbids any action that the Catholic faith considers to be immoral, such as

euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. (A Catholic hospital, in any case, will not follow a directive that conflicts with Church teaching.) Once a directive is made, copies should be distributed to the agent and anyone else the patient deems appropriate. One should periodically review the provisions of an Advance Directive and, when there is a revision, all previous copies should be destroyed. The usefulness of an Advance Directive, which gives specific instructions for care, is limited because of its inflexibility. If circumstances change significantly between writing the Advance Directive and its implementation, the instructions may be of little value to those acting on a patient’s behalf, or may even hinder their freedom to make good decisions. There may also be a problem of interpreting the document when it is not clearly written. An Advance Directive oftentimes does not allow for adequate informed consent because one must make a decision about a future medical condition which cannot be known in advance. When drawing up an Advance Directive, therefore, one should focus on general goals rather than on specific medical procedures. Assigning Durable Power of Attorney is preferable to an Advance Directive because it leaves decisions in the hands of someone whom the patient has personally chosen. A proxy agent also can be more sensitive and responsive to the decision-making that is necessary for a given case. When assigning Durable Power of Attorney one should choose an agent of good moral character – someone who is known to be capable of making sound decisions under stressful circumstances. The agent should know the teachings of the Church and possess the practical wisdom to apply them to changing circumstances.

An agent, of course, must also survive the patient. One may designate alternate agents in case one’s first choice, for some reason, is unable to act. A good agent makes decisions for the patient in light of what the patient would choose if able to do so. The proxy, therefore, should be very familiar with your moral convictions and wishes. When there is an Advance Directive from you, this should be the guide. When there is not, the agent must act on the oral instruction that has been given. Sometimes, however, acting in your best interests means ignoring instructions that are obviously unwarranted or clearly immoral. No agent is bound to carry out actions that conflict with morality and the faith.


When formulating any Advance Directive and discussing end-of-life issues, avoid using the expression “quality of life” because it is used by advocates of euthanasia to suggest that some lives are not worth living. While illness and other circumstances can make life very difficult, they cannot diminish the inestimable worth of each human life created by God. Life itself is always a good, and is a quality that can never be lost. Still, we need not cling to this life at all costs (what’s called “therapeutic obstinacy”), since the life to which we have been called in Christ is incomparably better. Euthanasia has been defined by St. John Paul II in “The Gospel of Life” as “an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering.” The Church holds that “euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.” — National Catholic Bioethics Center

Watch and learn more online At Find links to a series of USCCB videos featuring stories of people who have faced difficult life issues:

Luke’s Story: Every Suicide is Tragic

John’s Story: Beyond Independence

You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide. “Every suicide is tragic – whether you’re old or young, healthy or sick, your life is worth living,” says Luke Maxwell, 19, who survived an attempt to take his own life.

Born without arms, John Foppe speaks to a way of life beyond independence – namely, interdependence: Together we are more. Assisted suicide sells everyone short, so in times of illness or disability, he encourages us to “step into life!”

Jeanette’s Story: 15 Years Later

Maggie’s Story

When Jeanette Hall had less than a year to live, she asked her doctor for the pills to commit suicide. Dr. Kenneth Stevens got to know her better, inspiring her to have treatment instead. Now 15 years later, Jeanette says: “It’s great to be alive!”

Maggie Karner, a 51-year-old mother of three, has terminal brain cancer and opposes assisted suicide. She shares how her dad, when bedridden at the end of his life as a quadriplegic, taught her to face life and her final days with true grace and dignity.




Frequently Asked Questions What is the difference between foreseeing death and intending death? The difference ultimately lies in the intentionality of the patient or health care professional. A person should never intend in any way the death of a patient or the hastening of a patient’s death. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a medical decision made during end-of-life care includes such an intention. Certain means can be used to alleviate a patient’s pain, for example, by a physician who foresees that the patient’s life may be shortened as a result (as an indirect, non-intended but tolerated effect of the therapy), but similar means could be used to intentionally shorten a patient’s life.

Are proportionate or ordinary means the same for everyone? Basic care (such as nutrition and hydration, pain relief, antibiotic treatment, and postural change) is generally the same for all patients and should always be provided. The evaluation of proportionate or disproportionate means, however, is based on objective and subjective factors for an individual patient. For example, total parenteral nutrition may be a proportionate means in an industrialized country but a disproportionate means in a developing country, where it is not affordable or is technically too difficult to administer. A treatment may also be disproportionate because it is futile or because it causes complications that are too hard for the patient or the patient’s family to bear.

What ethical problems are there with advance directives? The right of patients to self-determination can lead them to include morally illicit requests in advance directives, such as requests to have ordinary care withdrawn. An effective therapeutic alliance between a physician, a patient and the patient’s proxy is the best way to address end-of-life issues. Requests made by a patient in an advance directive may preclude therapeutic dialogue, preventing such an alliance. A patient may react to an illness or a specific therapy differently than expected, or medical advances occurring after a directive was written may change the patient’s treatment options in unexpected ways. In such situations, an advance directive may prevent objective moral analysis. Advance directives are often difficult to interpret and apply in the actual circumstances encountered by health care professionals, relatives and proxies. Advance directives that do not differentiate between proportionate and disproportionate treatments may be promoted by pro-euthanasia associations as a first step toward acceptance of euthanasia.

What is a Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)? A Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is a medical order specifying whether life-sustaining treatment is to be used or withheld for a specific patient in various circumstances. It carries the signatures of the health care provider and sometimes the patient. It differs from a do-not-resuscitate order and a traditional advance directive in that it is actionable from the moment it is signed by the


This cross outside St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Maggie Valley is set on a high point overlooking the mountains of western North Carolina.

health care provider, even if the patient is still competent and is not terminally ill. One reason given for use of a POLST and similar instruments is the avoidance of futile or unwanted treatment. Even without a POLST, however, patients are never obligated to submit to health care procedures whose burdens outweigh therapeutic benefits. Decisions about forgoing life-sustaining treatment should be made at the time and in the circumstances in which the decisions are needed (not years ahead), and they should be made by the patient or the patient’s surrogate in consultation with the patient’s attending physician, in line with the patient’s known wishes and best interest (not by health care workers who are strangers to the patient but have access to his POLST). The details of a patient’s medical condition at a specific time need to be considered when such decisions are made, including the imminence of anticipated death, the likely risks and side effects of treatment, the suffering treatment is likely to cause, and the expense to the patient’s family and community. An optimal advance directive is written in very general terms. Instead of specifying treatment, it designates a health care proxy or surrogate who will make decisions if the patient is incompetent, someone who knows the will of the patient and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

What is the difference between an advance directive and a POLST? An advance directive is a legal document that allows a person to identify a proxy or surrogate decision maker and express his wishes about receiving or forgoing health care, including life-sustaining treatment, in the event that he is no longer able to communicate such wishes. An optimal advance directive is written in

general terms that identify principles on which a surrogate is to base decisions, made with the assistance of a physician, in the specific health care situation encountered by the patient. A POLST is a medical order about receiving or forgoing life-sustaining treatment that takes effect from the moment the health care provider signs it, even if the patient is competent and not terminally ill.

Why is the designation of a health care proxy or surrogate morally preferable to use of a POLST? Unless death is imminent, it is virtually impossible to compare the benefits and burdens of treatment before a patient has encountered a

specific health care situation. Thus, pre-signed checklists of treatments to be received or withheld are not helpful for making decisions based on the best interest of the patient and consistent with the patient’s wishes. A well-informed proxy who knows the patient, understands the values held by the patient, and respects the natural moral law can provide a far better understanding of how the patient’s wishes are to be respected than can a general checklist that is not tied to any specific patient care situation. — National Catholic Bioethics Center

More online At Find more resources and helpful guidelines on end-of-life care

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Catholic Charities’ Burial Assistance Program meets critical need in burying loved ones SUEANN HOWELL SENIOR REPORTER

CHARLOTTE — “It was a tragic day, a very tragic day. I lost someone who I cared dearly for, who I loved with all my heart.” That is how Joe, a Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte client, remembers the day in 2014 when his wife Lisa suddenly died. That morning, Lisa got dressed as usual, told Joe that she loved him, and headed off to work. Fifteen minutes later, she was hit and killed by a car. The shock of her death was followed by the nearly overwhelming details of what came next: burial. For many families, the cost of burying a loved one is a substantial financial challenge. The average cost of a funeral in the United States ranges from $7,000 to $10,000 – a major obstacle for many people struggling just to make ends meet. The unexpected expense compounds the burden they already face in grieving for their loved one. Our Catholic faith teaches us that it is an important corporal work of mercy to bury the dead. Catholic Charities’ Burial Assistance Program is a tangible way in which local Catholics are helping families of modest means to bury their dead. The program began in 1994, when Mecklenburg County stopped paying to bury the poor. Catholic Charities teamed up with concerned citizens, social workers, funeral home directors and the city’s cemetery director to found a burial plan for needy Mecklenburg County residents. They agreed to work together to provide funeral and burial or cremation services to indigent families. This program serves families who have no insurance, are unable to negotiate financial arrangements with a funeral home, or cannot pay the costs associated with traditional death expenses. The deceased must have been a resident of Mecklenburg County or the Asheville area to be eligible. In 2019 alone, Catholic Charities helped to bury 104

In 2019 alone, Catholic Charities helped to bury 104 people, including four children. people, including four children. Sharon Davis, regional office director of Catholic Charities, says the need keeps growing as families continue to struggle financially. “So many of the stories of the families are of people who just don’t have the means to say goodbye,” Davis says. “What families tell us frequently is that they are facing poverty, they barely have the means to live. They don’t have money to use when someone has died. Their focus is on how they will live, how they will get their next meal, the roof over their head…” Davis says families just can’t meet the expenses to bury

their loved one. “Those families go through many emotions – worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness – but when they learn through Catholic Charities that they will be able to have that final goodbye and closure in that final step in life, it brings so much joy and peace to them. “They feel they have now been able to honor the life of that family member or friend by being able to have a burial or a cremation with dignity. There is no shame that comes. They are able now to say goodbye to the very important person in their life.” Providing this important service to families in need “means we are honoring our responsibility to the person who has passed away, but also to the living,” Davis says. Recalls Joe, “I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know what to do. I went to Grier’s Funeral Home, and he told me about Catholic Charities. “The young lady at Catholic Charities was outstanding. She was nice, kind, considerate – like people should be. She didn’t treat me like I was a nobody. She treated me like I was a man.” Catholic Charities provides the social service support and eligibility verification for the program at no cost. Applicants are asked to contribute to the program as much of the cost of the burial as possible. Financial assistance is provided through charitable contributions from individuals, churches and other civic organizations when families are unable to cover the cost. Volunteers guide the families through the entire process, working closely with Catholic Charities staff and social workers. Joe still gets emotional when he talks about his love for Lisa and the help he received. He says Catholic Charities helped him through his grief and reassured him that Lisa would be laid to rest with dignity. “They gave me the feeling of hope that everything was going to be OK, and it was.”

Your Life’s Journey… Grieving Loved Ones Are Not Alone Last year, Catholic Charities provided 104 individuals with a dignified burial. The service is designed to help families who do not have the means to provide a compassionate and dignified burial for their loved ones. Without this service, some families would have no option but to leave the body of their loved ones unclaimed at the morgue.

how will you be remembered? Establish a legacy that responds to the many gifts God has given you.

Burial assistance helps families that have no insurance or finances to pay the costs associated with death expenses.

For assistance, please call the Catholic Charities office nearest you: Asheville: 828.255.0146 Charlotte: 704.370.3262 Winston-Salem: 336.727.0705 community supporters. To donate, please visit

Foundation of the Diocese of Charlotte

For more information on how to leave a legacy for your parish, please contact Gina Rhodes, Director of Planned Giving at 704/370-3364 or



Opportunities for giving Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we will become is a gift from God. As stewards of those gifts, we are called to return a portion of our time, talent and treasure in gratitude for God’s great bounty. The Diocese of Charlotte – with its parishes, offices, agencies, schools and outreach ministries – has many ways for you to give back in gratitude to God:

Donate online Secure donations can be made online via credit card or direct debit at www. for: Catholic Charities Catholic Conference Center Catholic Campus Ministry Charlotte Catholic High School Capital Campaign Christ the King High School Capital Campaign Diocesan Support Appeal (DSA) Eucharistic Congress MACS Education Foundation Priests’ Retirement & Benefits Collection Seminarian Education Campaign

Donate by mail Donations in any amount may be made via mail directly to the Diocese of Charlotte, or to any of the ministries mentioned at left. Checks should be made payable to the particular program (as listed above), except for Campus Ministry and Seminarian Education, both of which should be made payable to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. Please designate in the memo section of your check where your gift should be directed. Please send donations to: Diocese of Charlotte Attn: Finance Office 1123 South Church St. Charlotte, NC 28203-4003

Securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds) Gifts of stock may be made via electronic transfer or by physical

certificate. The Diocese of Charlotte maintains a brokerage account with Wells Fargo Advisors for the purpose of processing electronic transfers to the diocese for the benefit of the diocese or any of its parishes, schools or agencies. Refer to the Stock Donations section at for detailed guidance on initiating a transfer of stock.

Planned giving and endowments Many people choose to contribute to the future of the Church in western North Carolina through planned gifts, including real estate, retirement account plans, life insurance policies, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, and gifts made through a will or living trust. The Foundation of the Diocese of Charlotte aims to provide long-term financial stability for the diocese and its parishes, schools, ministries and

agencies. Through endowments and other planned gifts, it provides a means to generate income to help sustain the longterm strength and viability of Catholic institutions in western North Carolina.

Making a gift in your will To leave a bequest to the Church in your will, use the following language: n For a parish, Catholic school or Catholic agency, the listing should be: “Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, or his Successors in Office for the (name and city of parish, school or agency).” n For the diocese, the listing should be: “Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, or his Successors in Office.” n For the Diocese of Charlotte Foundation, the listing should be: “Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte to be added to or establish the (name) endowment fund.”

Who to contact For details about any of these planned giving opportunities, contact: Gina Rhodes: gmrhodes@ charlottediocese. org, 704-370-3364 Heidi Kelley: hmkelley@ charlottediocese. org, 704-370-3348 Judy Smith: jmsmith@ charlottediocese. org, 704-370-3320


Help a neighbor in need: Help Catholic Charities Make a donation today to Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte that will transform lives by strengthening families, building communities, and reducing poverty in your local neighborhoods. It’s easy to help a neighbor in need:

Donate online

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Donate securely online at donate, using a credit or debit card or EFT/ ACH.

Donations may be mailed to: Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte Attn: Central Processing Office 1123 South Church St. Charlotte, NC 28203-4003

Catholic Charities also has opportunities for you to donate your car, truck, RV, boat, motorcycle or other vehicle. For details, go online to donate-cars-vehicles, or call (toll-free) 855-930-GIVE or 855-930-4483 to speak with Catholic Charities’ partner, Charitable Auto Resources.

Catholic Charities’ food pantries in Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Asheville rely heavily on donated food and non-food items for weekly distribution to clients. They annually provide half-a-million pounds of food to over 13,000 people, including 5,400 children. Monetary donations to purchase food to feed the hungry can be made at donate.

Make checks payable to Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte. (Please include your address, daytime phone number and parish.) You can also donate using your Donor Advised Fund. You can also double the impact of your donation with your employer’s matching gift and mail your matching gift form to the address above. | November 6, 2020 20B CATHOLIC NEWS HERALD SPECIAL EDITION

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