Catholic funerals and cremations during coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)

Catholic funerals and cremations during coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)

In this extraordinary and unprecedented time we understand there are many new questions and concerns about funerals. This page will be regularly updated according to the changing situation we find ourselves in.

Advice during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)

***This page will be regularly updated***

Funerals and cremations

The response to the pandemic has led to restrictions around funerals. For many, this will mean they are not able to attend the funeral Mass or Liturgy of a relative or a friend, and therefore will be unable to console the bereaved and offer prayer for the soul of the deceased.

The Liturgy Office of England and Wales has published a leaflet which offers a short time of prayer for use at home at the time of the funeral.

The funeral should take place at the graveside or at a crematorium, subject to the conditions laid down by the cemetery or crematorium authorities. Arrangements should be made for a Mass to be celebrated in memoriam when congregations are allowed to gather.

During this challenging and difficult time it is still possible to plan ahead for funerals.

Preparing for the funeral

A parishioner from the parish of Our Lady and St Joseph, Alcester recently died. Her funeral will take place in the coming weeks. The parish priest, Fr Paul Gunter, has discussed with her children how they might be able to fittingly commemorate their mother’s life at this time.

Together they decided that because the hearse would already pass by the church on the way from the funeral home to the cemetery, and because their mother loved Our Lady of Lourdes, it would have been her wish for the hearse to stop for a brief moment beside the parish grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes.

A chance to pause, reflect and pray

This will give the family a chance to pause, reflect and pray and indeed to be close to their mother. She knew this place so well and drew great comfort from Our Lady of Lourdes.

Fr Paul hopes that the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes will become a shared focus for the family in the future, long after the family home is sold, because their mother loved that spot and visited it daily to pray. Fr Paul also hopes that the family will come to know that Our Lady of Lourdes will be close to them in the days, months and years ahead.

Masses in lieu of the Requiem when restrictions surrounding the pandemic cease

When the restrictions surrounding the pandemic cease, your local parish priest will want to help with what is needed – especially a Mass where possible, in lieu of the Requiem, to pray for the deceased and the family in their loss.

Insights from a Catholic funeral director

To help address questions and ongoing concerns about funerals we spoke to Paul Allcock, a Catholic family Funeral Director and former President of SAIF – The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.

LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW: Advice from funeral director Paul Allcock about the coronavirus and funerals in the UK (9mins, mp3 format, 18mb), or read more here.

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