Designing Your Funeral

There are two facets of the design process. First, we ask you to consider how you wish to honor and celebrate the life. When those important decisions are made, we’ll turn to the issue of how you wish to care for the physical remains.

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How to Honor a Life

It is about bringing those you love together, at a time of loss. It’s a natural thing to do, and over time, has become a socially-expected practice. More importantly, a funeral or memorial service, whether traditional, or contemporary, is the first step in healing.

You can have your service anywhere, and any way, you want. Your choices include the place of celebration, day of the week, and time of day; the musical selection, what prayers will be said or songs you’d like sung. We can arrange to have doves, butterflies, or balloons released at the close of the service. Keepsake gifts of wildflower seeds or a tree seedling can be given. We’re here to help you create the most memorable and meaningful service to honor your loved one.


Burial or Cremation?

Your next consideration focuses on choosing between burial and cremation. Usually, people are clear on this point. In fact, your loved one may have told you, or someone else, exactly how they wish to be cared for. But it can be a hard decision for some families, especially when the wishes of the deceased were never clearly stated. If that's the case, please know we're able to help you come to the perfect decision for your loved one, and for you.

Once you decide, the finer details come into focus. If you have chosen burial, then selection of the casket, vault, and desired cemetery follows. Naturally, we are here to help you.

If cremation is your choice, then you will need to make the next decision: whether the cremated remains will be placed in a mausoleum niche, or buried on the cemetery grounds.

In some communities, there's the option for a 'green burial.' If that is what your loved one would prefer, we will help you select an environmentally-friendly choice.

Although cremation is permitted, Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased.  When cremation is chosen for a good reason, the full course of the Order of Christian Funerals should still be celebrated, including the Vigil Service (wake), the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal.  The preservation of this order allows for the greater expression of our beliefs and values, especially the sacredness of human life, the dignity of the individual person, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the firstborn dead.  The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body be present during the vigil, and funeral mass, and that if cremation is to be used, it take place following the Rite of Final Commendation.

--- from Catholic Teaching on Cremation, Questions and Answers from the Bishops of New York State.


What's Next?

Now that we've given you the basics, it's time to reflect more on exactly what is appropriate for you and your family. If possible, gather everyone together to speak of their feelings and desires.

Still looking for inspiration? Speaking with a professional funeral planner will help to clarify your thinking. Reach us at 1-800-516-3595.