The long-standing funeral and cemetery tradition of the Catholic church flows logically out of fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith such as:
- The dignity of each human person
- The importance of baptism into the faith
- The reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ
- The promise of Jesus that one day we will also share eternal life
- The value and need to pray for the dead
- The celebration of the Eucharist as the great act of memory and thanksgiving for redemption.
Death is rightly celebrated at the parish church, the place of Baptism and Eucharist, the place where the bereaved must find comfort in the believing community and strength in the Eucharist that is celebrated for them on behalf of their deceased relative or friend.
In the context of these faith realities, death and burial are experienced and must be celebrated. The church provides the Order of Christian Funerals with three distinct elements as the proper and fitting way for the death of a Catholic to be observed.
- The church offers the Vigil, usually observed as a wake for the deceased in the funeral home, with the body present.
- Also with the body present, the Catholic church offers the Mass of Christian Burial which is typically celebrated for the deceased in the company of family, friends, and the parish community at the parish church.
- Following the celebration of the funeral liturgy, it is proper that the deceased be interred among members of the same faith tradition to prefigure the communion of saints. The church provides a Committal Rite and Farewell to fittingly bring our deceased to their places of rest while awaiting their reunion with family and the Risen Lord.