Follow
Share

Planning ahead again to help me feel less stress about finances. My dad cashed out his life insurance years ago and now he has none. He is on Medicaid and my parents have very little money. My mom has a policy that I think will cover most of her funeral expenses. But I'm not sure about my dad.


I checked out the local Catholic Cemetery and the least expensive option that doesn't include cremation is $8,000. That doesn't include the funeral home (it looks like around $3,000 for that). Nor does it include any costs for a Catholic Mass, etc. I'm making the assumption that he would not want cremation (which is less expensive). He and my mom are conservative Catholics.


I want to honor my dad's wishes, but this is a lot of money for me to have to spend out of my own pocket.


He is a veteran and he could qualify for burial in a national cemetery, but I don't know if they fit within the Catholic Requirements for burial. Does anyone happen to know?

Is he a member of a church? Yes, it makes a difference. Non members in my parish pay more.

So become a member of a local parish. It is preferable. You don’t have to have a funeral at funeral home if you don’t want.

The options are a viewing at the church for just a couple of hours before mass or a graveside service, (shorter than a funeral mass) at the cemetery. You can rent casket if you don’t want to buy if you are going to cremate but want a viewing. The Catholic Church does approve of cremation and that is cheaper.

If you do a funeral home it will cost more, but if you do then the priest can say mass at the funeral home. We did that for my dad.

We did graveside service at cemetery, no viewing at church, for my brother who was cremated.

Most people give clergy some money, (donation to church) Catholic clergy or Protestant too. This isn’t mandatory but recommended. You can call church secretary and she will tell you the range that most people pay.

My uncle was Catholic and WW11 vet and the veteran cemetery was important to him. Do the veteran cemetery. You will save money, honor him for his service, receive a flag which is a beautiful tribute and very meaningful to those who served.

Catholics do not require that you are buried in a Catholic cemetery. A veteran cemetery is acceptable. Like I said if you really want to keep it simple just do a graveside service at the cemetery. The priest will meet you there. Sometimes it’s a deacon if the priest can’t make it.

Hope this info helps. Best wishes to you and your family.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

You can only have a committal service at a national cemetery, they don’t allow funerals or viewings. My FIL was just buried in a national cemetary. You meet along the front of the cemetery until a staff member leads you to a committal shelter away from the gravesite. The committal service is about 20 minutes long, someone from the V.A spoke briefly, a relative gave the eulogy and then military staff did the flag ceremony where they unfold it and then refold it and present it to a family member. After that, if you want to watch the actual burial, you get back in the car and drive to the part of the cemetary your loved one will be buried.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to worriedinCali
Report
TXGirl82 Jul 26, 2019
I couldn't remember what the service was called, but that is what we had for my father. We had already held a memorial service following his death. The service at the National Cemetery was two or three weeks later. Dad's pastor read some Scripture, spoke briefly and prayed. Then the military did the flag procedure and gave it to my mother. We didn't stay for the actual burial.
(0)
Report
I applaud you for planning ahead. I say this because when someone you love has died, you are sad and vulnerable & will most likely agree with anything the funeral home director presents to you cost wise.

We had our mother’s funeral prepaid. I am pretty sure the funeral director arranged the Catholic mass as part of his fee because the only thing I had to do was meet with the women at church a day or two prior to choose the hymns. That was 6 yrs ago. We had a viewing only the night before the Mass & burial. It cost $10000 in 2016. We already had the plot from when my dad died. So if it’s a new grave, that too costs.

Fast forward to today. My brother passed away 6/8 &I had to cremate him. I am having a Catholic burial Mass for him next week. I arranged the Mass myself and it is not free. I am having an organist, singer and the priest and the fee for the organist and singer individually is $150 apiece.

For me, cremation is the way to go. Those fees vary state to state. Initially the blood sucking funeral director who called me less than 24 hrs after I found out my brother passed who informed me they would handle it for $4-5K. I told him that he was crazy & what my bottom line was and he called me back the next day stating he had been “authorized “ to charge $2500. I never returned his call.

I have 2 more things to check on - whether my brother’s cremains have to be in an urn for the Mass, and flowers.

If I want my brother’s cremains buried with my parents it will cost $1000 to dig the hole and place the ashes.

Funerals are one huge rip off, if you ask me.

Everything extra costs $ planning a funeral. I again applaud you for thinking ahead. When my mom did pass away the funeral home came to retrieve her quickly and we had no Issues whatsoever.

I do believe a VA Cemetary will allow a priest to come to the grave for the final Catholic blessing.

Best wishes to you!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Shane1124
Report
Rome36863 Jul 25, 2019
You have it right about funerals being one big rip off these days. There is an undertaker on YouTube who does a program called "Ask An Undertaker". She has really good information concerning what you can and cannot do in the way of the funeral industry. These days it is best to try to have everything ready long before the day comes that you check out of this world. I have got to get to work on mine.
(5)
Report
See 1 more reply
I will say what I hope won't be offensive, but you can only afford what you can afford. Even conservative Catholics get cremated. Call and talk to your Priest. No one wants their kids to go in debt for a funeral. Honoring his wishes to the best of your ability is all you can do. Don't put yourself in debt for the rest of your life. Ask if your mom's plot, when the time comes, can be converted to a double spot and have his ashes, which you will have to save, interred with her casket. We did that for a family friend who wanted his cremains interred with his wife's casket as she had predeceased him. Don't ruin your life, please. God knows His own.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Maryjann
Report

First off - you do Not have to do a funeral home. Many are now getting away from that. Next, you can do Cremation in the Catholic standards and it will run $1500 and up, mostly depending on the Urn and who does the cremation. You do Not have to do Embalming, nor do you have to have the person dressed for cremation. My father was Jewish, so he had to be buried but without embalming. My DH was Protestant and he agreed to cremation and I refused the embalming.

Personally, I turned to a LivingUrn https://www.thelivingurn.com/ and this site was the most reasonable and they were extremely helpful. The tree, should you order one, is guaranteed to live. How do I know? Mine died due to a freaky winter; it leafed out and when winter returned, it just died. I was sent a replacement tree as soon as I answered a few questions. The new tree is thriving!

Cremation and Urns do not need a Burial Plot and all Cemeteries have areas for the Urns. At the moment, my DH's ashes are still on my hearth and at home. You can even hold your mother's ashes (or your father's, whoever goes first) and they can be interred together in one Urn. The Crematory will put the ashes into a temporary plastic urn and you can keep them like that indefinitely. You do not have to purchase an Urn right away.

I have a plot and a tombstone already, but I am not ready to do anything with my DH's remains - so they sit safely on my hearth for the time being.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to RayLinStephens
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jul 25, 2019
Good point about embalming. Thanks for pointing this out.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
I am Catholic. It is in our catechism that we are allowed to be cremated but we are supposed to have the ashes buried or in a mausoleum.

That being said, it doesn’t hurt to speak to a priest. Some priest are more liberal and make exceptions.

At our church we do the charitable thing, the parish will pay for it if the family cannot afford it. So by all means, speak to your parish priest.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report
DollyMe Jul 25, 2019
My father was cremated and I placed his ashes in a crypt, the priest was there when I placed him in the crypt. My father would have liked this, as he never wanted to be buried in the ground.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
I'm not sure if they charge for using the Chapel on base but something to call and check. I attended a lot of funerals on NAS Pensacola. Cars would be lined up waiting for their "turn" to have the service at the grave site. To make matters worse, all but one of them had requested a chaplain to be there to do the graveside service. They just didn't show up and the mortician did it instead. Now if you have a Priest I'm assuming he can do it for you at little cost. So "if" you have your own priest I'd call the base or cemetery and ask them. They should be able to answer your questions.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to whaleyf
Report

My inlaws are buried at a National Cementary. Because of its size, they had to be cremated. The plaques used can have any religious emblem you want. We had a graveside service with a minister officiating. There was also a service done by the military. Afterwards we went to a friends home for the luncheon.

One of our members, "Old Sailor" says that there are National Cemeteries that allow regular burials. There is no cost at a National Cemetery. At a County Vet cemetery, the plot is free but you have to pay to have it opened. Plaques are at no cost.

Not sure what you mean about requirements of being Catholic? Being buried at a National or County Vet cemetery only means you don't have to worry about the cost of the plot and stone. If not cremated, you still have to pay for the funeral home getting the body ready, the viewing, and services. The VA does not pay for this.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
PrivateCitizen Jul 28, 2019
thank you for some sanity. I do not understand why people (esp. family) think somone else should take up the cost, AND make restrictions because of their faith on top of that. I AM a veteran (3 years service) if i am IN a VA hospital an die they will bury me in a local VA cemetery, or if I am in VA TRANSPORT and die, but otherwise, even as an honorably discharged vet they do not. I am still looking into this. MILITARY attendance at the burial is done by volunteer groups who are all over. These are older men who will wear their uniforms, and play the appropriate music (Army/Navy thee, etc) in a respectful way and give the American flag to a relative if there is one there. Many homeless vets or those with no family are being honored by the local people, no one is asking of money to do this, and often the cemetery pass it out of pocket. If it were my father or mother, sister i would pay out of pocket and accept this is my responsibility, asking for help is no problem, but we cannot expect others to do this.
(1)
Report
Dear Dafodil,
Do not "make the assumption that your father would not want cremation because he and your mother are "conservative Catholics' ". I remember when it was a "sin" to be cremated.  I also remember when a suicide victim was not allowed to be buried in "holy ground" which caused horrible torment to their families. I have a family member who had burial plots in a mausoleum in a local cemetery.  She and her  2nd husband bought "slots' in a columbarium at their church but sold them because the thought of their mother being cremated was too painful to her 6 children.  Fast forward to the time when one of the young grandchildren passed away. The mother of the grandchild didn't want her child to be buried in the ground and be eaten by maggots. Now all of the family members are going to be cremated and placed in a columbarium. And these are very conservative Catholics. Catholics have been cremated in Europe for centuries because of not enough land to bury all of the dead.  In New Orleans, people apparently have a "lease of sorts" for space in the above ground tombs. When another person needs to be buried, I understand the original bones are pushed to the back of the tomb until there are so many bones from subsequent burials that the tomb is emptied out. 

If your father insists on you going into debt to bury him in the "style" he wants, he is a terrible father. It's not your fault that he wants a Cadillac burial but can only afford a Ford burial. It reminds me of the parents where when one of them is dying, makes the remaining child (usually a daughter) promise to NEVER  place the other parent in a nursing home. In the huge cemetery in my city, there were originally a Jewish section, Catholic section, etc.  But that is no longer the case. But a priest can "bless" the individual plot if the family wants to make sure that their loved one is in holy ground. Talk to your father and talk to his priest. I cannot believe that either of them would tell you to go in debt.  I think the Veteran's Cemetery is a wonderful idea. Your fathers remains can be near his "band of brothers".  In our State Veterans' Cemetery, volunteers put out Christmas wreaths on every single grave.  Hope this helps.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to SicilianLady1
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jul 30, 2019
Yes, lots has changed.
(0)
Report
When you say you checked out the local Catholic Cemetery, did you speak to a human being or just look at their website?

May he live forever! - but when your father does pass away he won't be the first devout but impoverished Roman Catholic to require a properly observed, dignified funeral. Ask the cemetery, or better yet ask your father's priest, where the family might find assistance.

I would be very surprised if veterans' cemeteries do not cater for all religious denominations. Certainly I know that armed forces generally have been respectful of such things for at least two centuries, but I don't know what constraints might apply in national cemeteries specifically.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Jul 30, 2019
CM,

We are a Catholic family. My uncle was a WW11 vet and he was buried in a veteran cemetery. It’s nice. The church has no objection. It’s a nice way to honor veterans and they each receive a flag to be placed on their casket. The flag is sent home with the family after the funeral.
(0)
Report
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter