TROSLY-BREUIL, France -- Gathered in a makeshift chapel around a simple pine casket, members of L'Arche communities and Faith and Light groups from around the world mourned the passing of Jean Vanier and celebrated his life, his wisdom, his holiness and humanity.

Published in Canada
WASHINGTON – A Michigan priest criticized for emphasizing suicide in his homily during a recent funeral for an 18-year-old who took his own life has since apologized.
Published in International
VATICAN – Pope Francis expressed his condolences for the death of the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
Published in International
VATICAN – Pope Francis attended the funeral Mass and presided over the final commendation of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the French cardinal who led the Vatican's outreach to other religions and who had announced to the world his election as pope five years ago.
Published in International

VATICAN CITY – In a letter sent for the funeral of the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner, retired Pope Benedict XVI praised the prelate as a passionate pastor, who died a happy man at peace with the Lord and his will for the universal Church.

Published in Vatican

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be an isolating experience — but it’s not a road you have to walk alone, thanks to the support of bereavement ministries.

Published in Estate Planning

An amazing hockey player he may have been, but Gordie Howe’s greatest legacy will be that he was an even better human being, one who touched the lives of all of us and our families.

Published in International

ROME - Television programs, coffee bars, Italian Twitter accounts and the corridors of political power were abuzz Aug. 20-21 with news and commentary about the extravagance surrounding the funeral of the reputed boss of an organized crime ring in Rome.

Published in International

TORONTO - It is the morning after a loved one has suddenly passed away and you are all alone. There is so much rushing through your mind, not least of which is giving your loved one the proper send off from this world. Who do you turn to for help? A funeral director of course. 

Published in Estate Planning

JOLIETTE, Quebec - St. Charles Borromeo Cathedral was packed as Bishop Gilles Lussier and several priests concelebrated the funeral of Father Raymond Gravel, an outspoken social activist and advocate for Quebec independence.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Come September the first Catholic funeral home in the Archdiocese of Toronto will open its doors at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - Joanne McGarry was a lot of things to a lot of people — an advocate for Catholic civil rights, a Catholic journalist and a dedicated colleague to some, to others always be a dear friend, loving wife and caring mother of three. Now to all she is an angel in heaven.

Published in Canada

MANGALORE, India - Thousands gathered at Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva, just outside Mangalore, for the funeral of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who killed herself after falling for a hoax from Australian radio announcers.

Published in International

When facing death there is a lot a family must manage: grieving, estate finances and, often overlooked, the funeral service arrangements.

“Pre-planning is one of the most thoughtful gifts that you can give to your family,” said Amy Profenna, spokesperson for Catholic Cemeteries — Archdiocese of Toronto. “When arrangements are made in advance of need, it allows one to focus on the important things at a time of death.”

While pre-planning is preferred by Profenna, she understands that health issues and sudden deaths — as well as people not accepting that their time is near — often leave the task to those close to the deceased. This reality is what prompted the Catholic Cemeteries’ team to publish Life is Changed, Not Ended: Planning and Preparing a Catholic Funeral in 2008.

“We worked with Novalis to customize this booklet which was created to help family and friends prepare a Catholic funeral,” said Profenna. “It contains all the readings for the funeral Mass from which the reader can choose, and offers all the themes for the vigil celebrations.”

The booklet opens by addressing a variety of common questions surrounding children’s role in the Mass, prayers for victims of suicide and, one of the most popular misconceptions, preparing the eulogy.

“Although the Catholic funeral Mass is an opportunity to remember the person who has died, it is a celebration of the saving mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection,” reads the booklet. “That is why a eulogy, which is a speech praising someone who has died, is not part of a Catholic funeral. It is important in the grieving process, however, for people to share memories.”

It recommends doing so at the wake, the vigil for the deceased or in private with close friends and family. Additionally the booklet explains, using similar reasoning, “why secular readings and songs don’t belong in a Catholic celebration — not even a favourite poem or song.”

Knowing all of this in advance can help reduce tension when sitting down to plan a funeral.

“Plan to take time to sit down with the parish priest or a member of the pastoral staff to discuss the details of the rites,” reads the booklet. “Share information freely and discuss any special wishes you may have.”

Profenna admits that spending a couple hours talking about your own funeral service, or that of a recently deceased loved one, can feel morbid, depressing and even terrifying, but the end result is almost always worth the discomfort.

“After people have made their arrangements the feeling is generally the same, the feeling of satisfaction, like a weight is lifted and the feeling that they are glad they did it,” said Profenna. “The most important part is that peace of mind people feel after making their arrangements.”

Published in Estate Planning