Q: I have an odd situation with an upcoming funeral. The question is whether or not there is any prohibition about having the remains of a second deceased person brought into the church for the funeral of another decedent. The wife died and was buried decades ago after a funeral Mass. The husband has just died and has been cremated. The family wants to exhume the wife’s coffin, open it, add the ashes of her husband, reseal the coffin, and have a funeral Mass with both.
That seems…weird to me. Both the funeral home staff and I are concerned about the condition of the wife’s casket and whether or not it will be in an appropriate state to bring into the church. Condition of the casket aside, though, the idea of having a second body present for funeral Mass seems odd to me. My instinct ask that the husband’s cremated remains not be placed in the wife’s casket until after the funeral Mass, but I wanted to check with you to see if you knew of any liturgical law or norms on the matter.
A: My instincts are yours. I don’t know of any liturgical law intervening here. These are things that no one dreams of happening.
I would plead for a funeral Mass with the husband’s cremated remains, followed some time later by the sealing and interment.