Cultural Funerals: Catholic Funeral Services

Catholic Funeral Traditions

Basic Funerals is proud to serve members of the Catholic Church. Our team of funeral professionals is experienced in all aspects of arranging a Catholic funeral service and is here to guide you through every step.

Beliefs About Death

The Catholic faith claims that death is the passing of the person’s soul from the physical world to the realm of the afterlife. The deceased’s soul will go on to live in Heaven, Purgatory or Hell. Some Catholics believe that the bodies of the dead will also be resurrected when Christ returns to Earth.

What Happens After Death Occurs?

When a Catholic person is experiencing their final days, a Catholic priest may be contacted and brought in so the Catholic can receive Holy Communion and special rites before their passing. After the passing occurs, the priest will help the family plan the funeral and contact funeral homes to plan a service for the deceased. Catholics can hold a viewing for the deceased which is usually done the night before the funeral service at a funeral home or a church.

Is Cremation Allowed in Catholicism?

The Catholic church has not supported cremation in the past, however it is now becoming more acceptable to choose cremations. Based on the beliefs of the Catholic church, a cremation should not take place prior to the funeral service. It is preferred to have a full funeral service with the casket and deceased present. When cremation occurs, the cremated remains of the deceased may be buried in the ground or at sea or entombed in an urn garden. Scattering or dividing cremated remains is frowned upon by traditional Catholics.

Views on Embalming

Embalming is accepted by Catholic and it generally required if for the viewing that happens before the funeral service.

Click here if you like to learn more about Embalming.

The Catholic Funeral Service

Catholic funeral services may be done at any time of the year except for specific holy periods and religious celebrations. Being in contact with a priest while planning a Catholic funeral is very helpful in order to know which days should be avoided. Catholic priests lead funeral services which are done in a Catholic institution. Catholic funerals can take place in churches, chapels of assisted living facilities or chapels of cemeteries as long as they are Catholic. The body is present at the funeral service in a casket while prayers are conducted. During the service, music may be played that is appropriate to the church, so popular and non-religious music is typically not allowed. The family of the deceased can plan to have meaningful hymns and readings included in the mass with the priest. After the funeral service is done, the priest leads the Rite of Committal in which the body is buried or interred. Family and friends are usually invited to the interment after the funeral service.

Catholic Churches in Ontario

St. Basil's Church in Toronto

St Basil’s Church is a Roman Catholic Church built in 1856 as a part of a Gothic Revival Project. The original building was completed in 1862, but it was then renovated until 1923. This beautiful church serves a large local congregation but it also welcomes anyone that is interested in joining their community.

St. Patrick's Basilica in Ottawa

St. Patrick’s Basilica is the oldest church in Ottawa serving an English-speaking community. It was originally used by the parish to serve communities in Ottawa and the city of Hull, which is not in Gatineau. Therefore the parish was dedicated to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The church was built in 1875 and later declared a Basilica on St. Patrick’s day in 1995.


St. Peter's Cathedral Basilica in London

This beautiful cathedral was built between 1880 and 1885 in a French Gothic Revival Style and serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London. The parish that is now St. Peter’s was established in the early 1800’s and have built multiple churches before finally having this amazing Cathedral that serves the communities of London.