Our deepest sympathies
Sacraments are for the living.
Although a Funeral is not a Sacrament, it is a special and specific liturgy designed to give God thanks for the life of a person, to say farewell, and to pray for the deceased person.
At the end of our life we go to God. A Funeral liturgy involves praying for the deceased person that God may grant him or her a merciful judgment. Sorrow, grief and heartache, should be experienced within the context of caring community - we are a church after all - and a Funeral liturgy is the most appropriate way of caring for the deceased, whilst at the same time giving the community an opportunity to pay their respects too. That's also why the body of person who has died is always buried in a dignified public place, or their ashes reserved in a dignfied public place.
The Priest in the liturgy always represents Jesus Christ - the Good Shepherd. And it's the Good Shepherd that leads his flock (us) to green pastures (eternal life). As Jesus died and rose again, so this is our prayer for our loved ones.
Q: We recently had a funeral for a family member. I was a bit annoyed by how much the priest talked about Jesus and how little he talked about the person who had died. Isn’t the funeral supposed to be more of a celebration of the person’s life?
Q: What about Cremation?
Cremation was associated with pagan practices in ancient Rome and Greece, which contradicted the Christian view of respect for the human body in life and in death. So, for a long time Catholics were strictly forbidden from being cremated. Pope Paul VI reviewed the matter in the light of the prevailing cultural climate of the mid-20th century, and decided to lift the ban on cremation, and to prohibit it only when, in the words of Canon Law, "it is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching" (Can. 1176:3).
In summary, then, the Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2301).
If a person chooses to be cremated, the Church teaches that the remains should be treated with the same respect as the decomposed remains of a body and should be buried or entombed in a suitable place for commemoration of the deceased.