Glossary of Terms
At-Need - Arrangements for immediate need due to the imminent or actual death of a loved one.
Columbarium - A structure divided into chambers called niches for the interment of cremated remains.
Cremated Remains - That part of the human body remaining after the cremation process.
Crypt - A chamber in a mausoleum of sufficient size to inter a casket containing human remains.
Entombment - The interment of human remains in a crypt.
Grave - A space of ground that is used or intended to be used for interment of human remains.
Human Remains - The body of the deceased person.
Interment - The permanent disposition of remains by entombment, burial or placement in a niche.
Inurnment - The placement of cremated remains into a columbarium niche.
Marker - A memorial set flush with the ground.
Mausoleum - A structure divided into chambers called crypts for above-ground entombment.
Memorial - An inscribed granite or bronze commemorative placed on an upright monument, lawn level marker or crypt for the purpose of identification and memory of the deceased.
Monument - A memorial which extends above the surface of the ground.
Niche - A space in a columbarium used for placement of cremated remains.
Outer container - A vault or liner into which a casket is placed at burial to prevent the grave from sinking or collapsing over time. Catholic Cemeteries require the use of an outer container.
Opening/Closing - The fee charged by the cemetery to accomplish the burial. Services include record keeping, excavating the grave, set-up of graveside equipment, closing the grave, cemetery attendants, and equipment costs.
Plot - Right of interment in a space or spaces as recorded in the cemetery records.
Pre-Need - Arrangements made in advance of need.
Right of Interment - The right to inter the remains of one decedent in a grave, crypt or niche.
It is the tradition of Catholic Christians to offer worship and praise, to thank God for the gift of life, and ask His mercy and forgiveness for our sins and those of our beloved deceased. The Christian Community gathers to bring consolation and hope, and to fulfill the human need to turn to God.
After the death of a loved one the family takes part in planning the funeral - choosing texts, rites and music, and designating liturgical ministers. Some families find it particularly comforting to plan the funeral liturgy before death. When this is possible, it allows full use of the Order of Christian Funerals. The family is relieved of having to make quick decisions regarding the funeral after death, which can allow for a more meaningful celebration of the rites.
The Order of Christian Funerals is divided into three groups of rites:
Vigil and Related Rites and Prayers
These are various sacred proceedings that take place before the funeral liturgy.
This is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community. A Mass is encouraged, but the funeral liturgy can be celebrated outside of Mass as well.
Rite of Committal
These are proceedings surrounding the burial. This conclusion of the funeral rites represents the divine connection between earth and heaven.
Those who have chosen cremation may receive a Christian Funeral Rite, unless their choice for cremation reflects a denial of the resurrection of the body or is dictated by anti-Christian motives. The Church prefers the presence of the body for funeral liturgies, with cremation taking place after. When circumstances prevent the presence of the body at the funeral liturgy, it is appropriate that the cremated remains be present.
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Grief Support and Information
Here are several contacts that can provide you with specific information and assistance. Please remember that our staff is always ready to assist you. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, or have questions, contact us directly.
Grief Support and Information:
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Family Life Ministry
Bereavement Ministry Information
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Office of Pro-Life Activities
Project Rachel - Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing:
Project Rachel Information
The Compassionate Friends
Support following the loss of a child