Planning your own funeral ahead of your death is one of the most loving and responsible things you can do for your loved ones.

Planning ahead is a great gift for our loved ones

By  Catholic Register Special
  • November 7, 2015

Throughout our lives we do all that we can to place our loved ones first. As Catholic Christians we look to the example of Our Lord and the saints who sought to serve rather than be served. Our choices and decisions are based on what is most beneficial for them.

A time of death is by far one of the most painful and difficult times we go through; and yet time and time again people leave very important decisions to the loved ones they strive most to protect and care for.

Pre-planning one’s funeral and burial arrangements is one of the most loving and responsible things you can do for your family. With these decisions well thought out and planned, family members are free to remember, to pray, to celebrate a life well lived. Planning for one’s death is not a sign of hopelessness, but an expression of trust and acceptance of the Lord.

Since the earliest days of our faith, Catholics have taken special care of their faithful departed, reverencing each body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul assures the Philippians, “Jesus will transform these mortal bodies” (3:20). That sacred place where we proclaim that “life is changed, not ended,” that we believe “in the resurrection of the body” is your Catholic cemetery.

This tradition, this gift of sacred space, has been a part of the fabric of Toronto for more than 160 years. Beginning with early parish cemeteries and the first cemetery, St. Michael’s Cemetery which was consecrated in 1855, the Archdiocese of Toronto has continued to serve its faithful by providing cemeteries for the sacred function of burial.

“In the whole community of our archdiocese, our Catholic cemeteries are profoundly important,” says Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto. “We look upon our Catholic cemeteries as a very central part of our whole community of faith.”

In 2014 Catholic Cemeteries’ ministry expanded to include funeral services. Holy Cross Catholic Funeral Home, which includes the Chapel of St. Joseph, on the grounds of Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Thornhill, Ont., is the first Catholic funeral home in the archdiocese. With the opening of the funeral home, a family can now make all their funeral, cemetery, burial and cremation arrangements in one location all in keeping with the Catholic faith.

Services include funeral Masses in the funeral home chapel, burial and cremation services, visitation, vigil services and rosaries.

“With the opening of Holy Cross Catholic Funeral Home and the Chapel of St. Joseph, we begin a new chapter in the history of the archdiocese,” says Amy Profenna, Manager, Marketing & Public Relations. “This expansion of our ministry is simply another way the Church conveys its concern and care for those who have died, and for the faith and well-being of those left behind.”

Making arrangements in advance of need creates a level of comfort and peace of mind because your final wishes are recorded. It also takes away any uncertainty for those family members who are not sure of your wishes and it eliminates any guesswork. By planning ahead you ensure your family is aware of your choices and will have the consolation of knowing they are carrying out those choices.

Pre-planning your funeral and cemetery arrangements is not a difficult process. It is similar to arranging a Will or formulating a life insurance policy. By taking the time to speak to a knowledgeable counsellor, you will be guided through the many decisions and choices that will have to be considered.

There is also a financial benefit to planning ahead. By pre-planning you are able to lock into today’s prices — not tomorrow’s. You can also select the products and services that are right for you.

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