Catholic Funeral Planning Guide
I am pleased to announce the launching of the Catholic Funeral Planning Guide developed by the Maine Catholic Cemetery Committee. Last November Bishop Malone released his pastoral letter “That We May Have Hope”. This pastoral was solicited by the MCCC and came out as an insert in the Harvest Magazine as a precursor to our planning guide. The full text of the Bishop’s pastoral is also found at the beginning of the guide and spells out the basic guidelines for Catholic funerals. The planning guide goes into detail to help you plan in advance of the inevitable, making it much easier for those loved ones left behind. Funeral planning guides are nothing new, they can be found at some funeral homes or online, even some insurance companies offer them. However, this one is different in that it is specifically designed to help the faithful plan for their funeral in a “Catholic way”, so that when the time comes, those left behind will know exactly what their loved one’s wishes were. All too often topics regarding death and dying are the elephant in the room, everyone is aware things need to be discussed but no one wants to upset the other so it is not discussed until it’s too late. We hope that our planning guide will stimulate conversation on death and dying. The guide is comprehensive and covers everything from the funeral home desired, which church is preferred, favorite readings and music, even the clothes one wishes to wear. You can stipulate traditional burial or cremation and the type of casket or urn you might prefer. There is a section where individuals can even write their own obituary or provide information for it. We have included important information for the Veterans Administration, Social Security Office and more. A section on where important documents of the deceased will be found, who and what organizations should be notified of their death. The planning guide has a wealth of information. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one in the past will tell you how difficult and stressful it can be to make decisions not knowing what your loved one would have wanted; once filled out the guide takes all the guess work out of the equation. It can be taken to the funeral home and parish office with you when making arrangements, all the information you need will be there. If you have ever tried to find out where someone kept their important papers, what insurance policies they have, or where their bank accounts are, you will find this guide a tremendous help. The guide can be found below. Fill it out on line, store it electronically or print it out and put it where the person in charge of your final arrangements will know where to find it, better yet, give them a copy. If you store it electronically be sure someone knows your password. If you or your family has not been to church for a while, not to worry, this guide is still for you, the Catholic Church welcomes you and your family regardless.
Go ahead take a look, it’s free, it’s helpful and it’s painless. Involve your family or friends in the process. You’ll be surprised how many of them have been trying to find a tactful way of talking to you about end of life issues. It won’t make the end come any sooner but it will give you and your loved ones peace of mind.