Home Community Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose: Cremation Explained

Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose: Cremation Explained


By Nicole Lecheler

“We believe in the resurrection of the body and this must be the principle of our understanding and practice. The Catholic Church wholeheartedly recommends continuing the ‘pious practice of burying the dead.’ It is considered one of the corporal works of mercy and, mirroring the burial of Christ, it more clearly expresses hope in the resurrection.” Ad resurgendum cum Christo

As the year of mercy has come to a close, it is important to highlight the ministry of Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose as it relates to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy: bury the dead; instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; comfort the afflicted; pray for the living and the dead. During the year of mercy, Catholic Cemeteries have highlighted people who have exemplified their faith and service to the church through their corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We have also highlighted services, events and programs offered by Catholic Cemeteries that pertain to our calling as merciful servants in faith.

In our ministry of mercy and in response to the statement issued by the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Cemeteries supports the Vatican Instruction,
Ad resurgendum cum Christo.

Catholic Cemeteries offers burial options for cremated remains favorable to the instruction of Pope Francis, and we attempt to educate the community of our beliefs, practices, and options.

“As Catholics, we strive to foster life from conception until old age and natural death, and our care extends even to the grave. Our belief that each person is a temple of the Holy Spirit inspires us to honor those who have died. Our Catholic Cemeteries serve our community in this way. Whether a family or individual chooses cremation or traditional burial, the Catholic Cemetery is present to strengthen our hope and increase our faith in the Lord’s Resurrection,” said Bishop Patrick J. McGrath.

• Cremation Explained
Here is an easy-to-understand guide on Cremation and the Catholic Church:
In 1963, the Church issued an instruction permitting cremation and permission was included in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

In 1997, the Holy See granted the presence of cremated remains at Catholic funeral liturgies. Certain adaptations to the funeral rites and funeral liturgies pertaining to cremation can be found in the Order of Christian Funerals.

Scattering or separating cremated remains is not permitted. “A human cadaver is not trash, and an anonymous burial or scattering of ashes is not compatible with the Christian faith…the concrete identity of the person is important because God created each individual and calls each individual to himself.” Ad resurgendum cum Christo

If a person’s cremains have already been scattered, it is appropriate to rectify the situation by making a memorial in a church or Catholic cemetery including the name of the deceased.

Cremated remains are not to be kept at home. Placing the cremated remains in a sacred space, such as a Catholic cemetery also prevents the remains from being forgotten, lost, or disrespected, which is likely as time goes on and people closest to the deceased also pass away.

• Catholic Cemeteries has options
Catholic Cemeteries offers consecrated sacred burial options for cremated remains. A variety of options including niche (in the wall) spaces, both indoor and outdoor, granite or glass niches spaces, in-ground burial spaces, cenotaph memorials. Catholic Cemeteries includes three locations:

  • Calvary Cemetery
    2650 Madden Avenue, San Jose, CA 95116,
    (408) 258-2940;
  • Gate of Heaven Cemetery
    22555 Cristo Rey Drive, Los Altos, CA 94024,
    (650) 428-3730;
  • St. John the Baptist Cemetery:
    651 Old Piedmont Road, Milpitas, CA, 95035.

We are here to serve the Catholic community in faith and mercy. Our staff members are available to help guide you and your loved ones in the tradition of the Catholic faith when making decisions about end-of-life and burial options.

Parish Bereavement Ministers’ Training Series
February 7, 14, 28, March 7, 14, 21 from 7 – 9 p.m.
Chancery, 1150 N. First Street, Suite 100, San Jose.

Consolation of Grief through Prayer and Music
January 28 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino Parish, 10110 N. DeAnza Blvd., Cupertino.
For more information contact Kathy Fanger at (650) 428-3730.