Planning a Funeral

When a loved one has died, contact the parish office at 651.674.4056 to notify us as soon as possible.  Funeral planning typically takes place during a meeting between the priest or deacon who will be presiding over the funeral rites and family members of the deceased. If a funeral home is involved, they will assist the family in arranging this meeting. If a funeral home is not involved, the family should contact the parish office directly to schedule a meeting to make the necessary arrangements.
Many people choose to have a time of visitation at a funeral home the evening before the funeral and then close the evening with the Vigil Prayer Service.  In place of this prayer service the rosary may be said. A time of sharing can be very comforting and this is a fitting option following the rosary or vigil service.


We are frequently asked, “What funeral homes do you work with?” The answer is, we work with all funeral homes. If a family is not familiar with the local funeral homes we will point you in the right direction. Ultimately, it is up to the family to make this decision.
In planning a funeral liturgy at St. Gregory the Great parish, it is not necessary to make specific plans ahead of time. This can be covered in a planning session lasting about an hour. Sometimes when death is expected, the dying person wants to pick out songs and readings. If this is the case, we are happy to assist in any way possible.
Today, cremation has become more popular. People frequently ask what the position of the church is on cremation. There was a time when the Church forbid cremation, but this is no longer the case. The position of the Church was in reaction to those who used cremation as a public statement against our belief in the resurrection of the body. Today there is little concern that anyone is trying to make this kind of statement. Typically, it has more to do with economics.


It is strongly preferred that the body be present for the funeral. There is frequently a therapeutic value in celebrating the funeral with the body present. When death is unexpected the presence of the body can help people to come to terms that their loved one has actually died. Cremation, if it is chosen, is to take place following the funeral. If it is necessary to have cremation prior to the funeral, all the usual rites which are celebrated with a body present are celebrated in the presence of cremated remains.

Since the human body was the temple of the Holy Spirit during life, was fed at the Eucharistic table, and will share in the bodily resurrection, there are some contemporary practices that are not acceptable for Catholics. Cremated remains are not to be scattered to the wind or the waves, used in jewelry, left on the mantel, divided among relatives or shot into the sky with fireworks. We would not treat the body this way, nor are we to treat it this way when it is in the form of ashes.

An up-to-date list of parishioner funerals can be found on our OBITUARY page.


Whether burial involves the full body or cremated remains, with reverence we gather together and through the prayers of the Rite of Committal, commit our loved ones’ remains to a permanent and final resting place. For the rest of their lives, surviving relatives have a specific place to come and grieve, to give honor and to remember. This is an important benefit that burial in a cemetery provides. Cremated remains are to be treated as we would treat the body. They are to be sealed in a dignified container and buried in the ground in a cemetery or placed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The Church recommends that the place of burial be permanently memorialized with a memorial stone, marking the name and dates of birth and death of the deceased person.

St. Gregory the Great parish has a Cemetery located in North Branch at 14th and Elm Street. If you are not familiar with the cemetery, we encourage you to drive through it. For information on St. Joseph’s Cemetery please contact the Parish Office at 651.674.4056 or

The Rite of Committal is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It may be celebrated at the grave or tomb. In the Rite of Committal, we bless the grave as it will be the resting place of the body until the resurrection of the dead. Through this rite the community of faith proclaims that the grave or place of interment, once a sign of despair, has been transformed by means of Christ’s own death and resurrection into a sign of hope and promise. Through Christ even the grave becomes a sign of hope!

Funeral Lunches

Our Funeral Luncheon ministry can provide dessert, beverages, and all paper products. They will also set up, serve, and clean up. The family needs to provide the main course, which must come from a licensed caterer or from a deli. If you need suggestions for local restaurants or delis, please contact the parish office for more information. 

Funeral Ministry Volunteers

St. Gregory’s offers a warm and welcoming meal for the grieving family and friends during their time of sorrow. As a volunteer, you would aid with set up, serve the luncheon or provide a homemade cake or bars for these families.  This Ministry is a wonderful way of serving someone in our parish that is going through a difficult time in their life. If you are interested in more information on joining our Funeral Luncheon Ministry, please call the parish office at 651.674.4056.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18
St. Gregory The Great