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What is the importance of Catholic cemeteries?
Catholic Cemeteries are natural sanctuaries that house the temple of the body with the promises of everlasting life. These sacred places provide peaceful and religious environments that are conducive to prayer, reflection and remembrance. The final expression of our faith as Catholics is the blessed and sacred burial in a Catholic Cemetery. It is our opportunity to rest among fellow believers, awaiting the Resurrection to life everlasting.
Although Catholics may be buried in non-Catholic cemeteries, members of the faithful are ordinarily buried in Catholic cemeteries because these spaces are the only cemeteries in which the complete ritual and full graces of the Church are available. Burial in a Catholic cemetery is a long-standing sign of the Church’s reverence for the human body. Appropriately, the ground in Catholic cemeteries is consecrated to receive sacred remains.
The Church maintains Catholic cemeteries because both in life and in death we belong to the Lord (Romans 1:4-8). Just as the faithful have shared and celebrated faith in the community of the Church, so in death their bodies rest with other deceased members of this community, awaiting the day when God will raise their mortal bodies to glory. Catholic cemeteries also stand as a sign to the world that even in death, Christians believe in life. The images of saints in Catholic cemeteries and mausoleums are not mere decorations; they are a sign of belief in the communion of saints.