Q: I have received a request from a friend, a parishioner from a nearby Episcopal church, that we host a funeral for her husband at the parish where I am the Catholic pastor. The family church is too small for the anticipated attendance. I have welcomed them. If things have changed and that invitation is not proper, please let me know. It used to be fairly common for requests such as this to be granted – an Episcopal bishop was once consecrated at a local Catholic church, and there were conventional eucharists at another Catholic church in a nearby diocese.
A: My condolences to you and your friend on this loss.
Here is the pertinent paragraph from the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism:
“137. Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services. Under similar circumstances, permission may be given to them for interment or for the celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries.”
I suggest you contact the bishop’s office, explain the situation, and cite this paragraph as the pertinent one. The reasons you give, in my view, are well within the aims of the Directory. Be assured of my prayers for all those grieving this death.