Can You Share Ashes Among Family Members? 5 Catholic Cremation Facts You Should Know

by | May 26, 2023 | Cremation Service

Latest Articles



Cremation in Hayward is becoming an increasingly popular choice among Catholics. However, there are important considerations and guidelines to follow regarding cremation practices and what the Church considers acceptable.

Below you’ll find five facts about the practice and how the Catholic Church feels about it:

Fact 1: Cremation is Allowed in the Catholic Church

Contrary to past beliefs, the Catholic Church now permits cremation. In 1963, the Vatican lifted the ban on cremation, recognizing it as a valid option for Catholics. However, the Church emphasizes treating cremated remains with respect and dignity.

Fact 2: Ashes Must Be Treated with Reverence

Catholic teaching emphasizes the sacredness of the human body, even after death. Therefore, the Church instructs that cremated remains should be treated with the same respect as a body. That means the ashes should be handled reverently and interred in a sacred place, such as a cemetery or columbarium.

Fact 3: Sharing Ashes Among Family Members

The Church encourages the interment of cremated remains as a whole. Dividing and sharing ashes among family members, though, is generally discouraged, as it goes against the preference for the intact interment of the remains. Instead, the focus is on treating the ashes with reverence and ensuring they are properly interred in a sacred place.

Fact 4: Proper Disposition of Ashes

The Church requires the cremated remains be buried in a sacred place, including a columbarium niche or other approved forms of interment. Scattering ashes or keeping them at home is generally discouraged, though, as it does not reflect the Church’s preference for a sacred resting place.

Funeral Rites and Memorials

Catholic funeral rites and memorials are still essential to the grieving process, regardless of whether cremation is chosen. The Church encourages families to hold funeral Masses, vigils, and other services to honor and pray for the deceased. These rites provide comfort, support, and an opportunity for the community to unite in faith.

Catholic cremation practices have evolved, allowing for greater flexibility and personal choices while upholding the principles of reverence and respect for the deceased. Understanding the guidelines and facts surrounding cremation in Hayward and the surrounding area helps families confidently navigate this decision. Contact Sorensen Chapel today to learn more.