Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Keeping ashes at home

Q: In a previous column, you said that Catholics can’t scatter the ashes of loved ones be­cause they have to be preserved and shown respect. Is it possible to keep the ashes at home? I have the ashes of a loved one and it helps me to know that they’re close to me. (Greenville, SC)

A: This is a good follow-up to the previous column about scat­tering ashes. In that column, it was explained why we can’t scatter ashes. Now, it’s good to address ap­propriate locations for the place­ment of ashes. Of course, the care of our loved ones’ remains is a sacred duty for the Christian. As believ­ers in the Lord’s Incarnation and Resurrection, we esteem the respect of our bodies and the bodily remains of our loved ones.

While there’s great compassion for someone who wants to keep their deceased loved ones close, it’s worth emphasizing the dignity of our loved one’s body. Such a dignity does not seem fully recog­nized or cherished by placing them in a private home.

As Christians, the proper resting place for our loved ones is on conse­crated ground, namely, a Catholic cemetery, parish columbarium or a gravesite blessed by a Catholic priest or deacon. This allows the bodies of our loved ones to be fully honored, as well as for prayers to be offered for them by the entire com­munity.

 

Q: Recently my daughter was engaged. We’ve planned for the wedding at a local outside venue. Our priest, however, refuses to do the ceremony there. He insists that the wedding has to be in the church. Could you explain this to me? (Charlotte, NC)

A: Congratulations to your daugh­ter and family! The nuptial cel­ebration is one of the highest, happiest, and most sacred moments in a Christian’s life. In fact, it’s so holy that the Church obliges the faithful to be mar­ried in a consecrat­ed Catholic house of worship, in front of a Catholic priest or deacon, and within a Catholic nuptial ceremony. Only for serious reasons could a bishop allow for an exception.

It’s for this reason that the Church directs nuptial ceremonies to be celebrated within a church. It excludes certain venues, such as golf courses, country clubs, hotels, beach resorts, etc. As believers, the exchanging of vows should be given in front of an altar, since that is where the Eucha­rist is celebrated in which the Lord Jesus fulfills his vow to us: “I will not leave you as or­phans; I will come to you.” (Jn 14:18).

Your priest is be­ing a good shepherd to your daughter and future son-in-law. He wants the best for them and for their nuptial cer­emony.

 

Q: I was always taught to bow my head at the name of Jesus. I don’t see people doing that nowadays. Have we lost respect for the Holy Name? (Bluff­ton, SC)

A: The practice of bowing one’s head at the name of Jesus is still recommended by the Church, especially during the celebration of the Mass. The custom has been relatively neglected in re­cent times. Some of this is due to a change of culture that no longer fo­cuses on external acts of deference. This change does not necessarily indicate a lack of respect, although neglecting external expressions can cause harm to our devotional lives and the emphasis of this custom should be reintroduced.

 

Father Jeffrey Kirby is administrator of Our Lady of Grace Church in Lancaster. Email him your questions at askfrkirby@gmail.com.






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate