Q: The question came up amongst our deacon group concerning cremains. A person had their father’s cremains interred several years ago. He subsequently found out that a portion of the ashes had been kept by a family member originally to be “spread” someplace. That did not happen. So the question is: what is the Church’s position on what should be done with the ashes?
The rest of the cremains are in a military cemetery which makes it hard to somehow inter them there.
Your thoughts would be appreciated
A: This is one reason that the church discourages separating ashes and promotes interment in a permanent, public space.
I’d recommend contacting the military cemetery with the request to add these ashes to the others already there. That would be the best solution.
Short of that, give the ashes a proper interment in some permanent, public space. Invite a priest or deacon to lead a second rite of committal. The death record in the parish of the deceased may indicate the two locations for the ashes.
BTW, the Order of Christian Funerals never uses the word “cremains,” which it finds impersonal. It always speaks of “cremated remains.”