General Information
The personal loss that death creates can be shocking and devastating. Your parish family wants to be available to you during your loss and grief.  We want to help in ways that are most important to you.  So, if you do not need this information close-at-hand for the moment, please keep it for reference.  It could help eliminate confusion for you after experiencing the profound shock of loss. 
The following listing is printed as a reminder of items to consider when planning a Wake Service or Funeral Mass. Your parish family is here to help. 

Contact Information:
Fr. Ken Fortney  406-872-2051 (office)        
406-871-3605 (emergency)

Death Notice
Notification of the death of a parishioner should be given to the pastor or office staff as soon as possible. Services must not be scheduled through the funeral home before notifying the church.

Wake Service
A Wake Service can be held at the funeral home, or in the church itself. Family members can schedule the service with the pastor or the coordinating staff member.

An eulogy for the deceased should be limited to five or six minutes and presented at the Wake Service; before, or after, the Funeral Mass.

Funeral Mass
A Funeral Mass is a Mass of Christian Burial and is celebrated only when a body or cremains is present at the Mass. Family members can schedule the Mass with the pastor.

Memorial Mass
When the body or cremains is not present, an ordinary daily Mass for the deceased can be celebrated if (s)he is a registered member of the parish.

Gift Bearers
The family can choose two, three or four persons to take the gifts to the altar. These persons must be practicing Catholics. Please notify the coordinating staff member.

Family members can select a lector, who is a Catholic in good standing. The readings must be taken from the Lectionary for the Mass. This information must be given to the priest prior to the celebration.

The coordinating staff member will help the family arrange for preferred religious music selections. No secular music can be selected. The services of a cantor and organist will be provided by the parish for the Mass of Christian Burial of a registered parishioner. If arrangements are made outside the use of a funeral home, the usual stipend for the musicians is $50 per musician.

A reception can be requested to be held after the Mass of Christian Burial of a registered member. The women of the parish are available to provide and serve the refreshments in Strom Hall following the burial. If selected, notification must be given to the office staff at least 48 hours in advance, with an estimation of the number attending.

Release Form
This form, provided by the parish, is required when either the body or cremains is kept in the church overnight. A family signature is necessary to release the church from liability.

Family members can select flowers to order from any florist. A church representative will coordinate placement of plants/flowers on the altar. Flowers may never impede access to or from the sanctuary. A reminder, flowers are not appropriate in the Sanctuary during the season of Lent. Flowers may be arranged at the entrance of the Church and in Strom Hall.

The official Catholic graveside service must take place before any other services presented at the grave. Cremains housed in an acceptable container must be kept in a columbarium or grave. It is forbidden to have cremains spread anywhere, on the ground or over lakes; or to keep cremains in homes or on mantel pieces. 

Family members can supply a portrait or photos of the deceased for display in the church entry. Items selected should be at the church at least 24 hours prior to the service. Often your funeral home staff can help with this activity.

Holy Cards and Guest Books
The family can arrange with the Funeral Home staff for these items. Ask them to bring both items to the church at least 24 hours prior to the service.

Knights of Columbus
A family member can contact a representative of the Knights of Columbus if your loved one was a member. Special services may be available.

Veterans of Foreign Wars
If asked, a member of the Funeral Home staff will contact a representative of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), if your loved one was a member. A ceremony at the gravesite can be scheduled.

Notify the office staff if you have preferences concerning memorials to your loved one’s memory. A memorial toward a specific use in the parish is always welcome.

Checks can be made payable to St. Charles Borromeo Church and left with the Office Staff.

Funeral Planning
A Funeral Planning page is available on this website. You are encouraged to use these pages in preparation for meeting with the priest/deacon and funeral planning representative from the parish. 

Funeral Scriptures
Readings and Music for the funeral may be found above.


The Church and Cremation

As a Catholic may I be cremated?

YES. The Church's definite preference is for burial of the body. However, since 1963 cremation has been permitted, although the cremation remains were not allowed to be present during the funeral mass. In 1997 the Vatican gave the bishops of the United States permission to allow the celebration of the funeral mass with the cremated remains present, provided the local bishop permits it.

Do I need the ask permission to be cremated?

No, but is is a good idea to discuss your reasons with your pastor. For a funeral mass with cremated remains present, the local bishop needs to give his permission.


When should cremation take place?

The Church strongly prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body. The presence of the body most clear bring to mind the life and death of the person and better expresses the values that the Church affirms in its rites.

This is the body once washed in Baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the Bread of Life. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing. ... Thus, the Church's reverence and care for the body grows out of reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God. ... However, when circumstances prevent the presence of the body at the funeral liturgy ... it is appropriate that the cremated remains of the body be present for the full course of the funeral rites, including the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal. The funeral liturgy should always be celebrated in a church.
(Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Catholic Funeral Rites, Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.)

Is it necessary to embalm?

When cremation follows the funeral liturgy, embalming is usually necessary. When cremation is to follow soon after death, embalming is not necessary. Each state has it own regulations in this matter, but generally the rule is that a deceased human body that is not buried or cremated within 24 or 48 hours is to be embalmed or refrigerated. However, simple embalming and the use of a cremation casket need not involve excessive costs.

Is it necessary to purchase a casket?

No, it is not necessary to purchase a casket for cremation. The only thing required is a simple container in which the body can be transported and placed in the cremation chamber. If you choose to have the body present for Mass, with cremation to follow, rental is an option. Many funeral directors offer regular caskets for rent, as well as the special cremation or shell caskets which you may purchase.

Careful Handling and Proper Interment of Cremated Remains

What is the proper container for cremated remains?

Appropriate, worthy containers (not necessarily expensive) such as a classic urn are proper for the cremated remains. At the present time the U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy has determined only what is not a proper container. Although jewelry, dishes, statuary and space capsules are examples of designer containers now being offered, they are unacceptable in Catholic funeral practices. It is also unacceptable to have cremated remains made into jewelry, dishes and the like.

How are cremated remains transported?

Transportation of cremated remains is a matter of personal choice. Individuals personally carrying a deceased person's ashes will often have the added responsibility of packing and transporting the urn. Using the principle of respect for the body, you may wrap the container of cremated remains with the possibility of sending it as accompanying baggage or take it along as carry-on luggage. Ask the airline office or the state's Department of Public Health, for specific information about your region of travel before preparing the cremated remains for transport I air. Where no legal regulations exist regarding transportation of cremated remains, most cremationists ship cremated remains in a standard shipping container by U.S. Mail or other common carriers.

Must cremated remains be buried/entombed?

YES. Respectful final disposition of cremated remains involves interment or entombment. Burial options include a family grave in a cemetery marked with a traditional memorial stone or an urn garden, a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns.

What is a columbarium?

A common practice is the entombment of the cremated remains in a columbarium. It is an arrangement of niches, either in a mausoleum, a room or wall into which an urn or other worthy vessel is placed for permanent memorial.

May I scatter the cremated remains?

No. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix II #417) Burial at sea of cremated remains differs from scattering. An appropriate and worthy container, heavy enough to be sent to final resting place, may be dropped into the sea. (See Order of Christian Funerals, #406.4) Please consult your local government for environmental regulations.

May anything be added to cremated remains such as the cremated remains of other persons, pets, other objects?

The principle of respect for the cremated remains of, deceased Christian embraces the deeper belief in the individuality of each baptized person before God. Throughout history, the mingling of remains has never been an accepted practice, except in extraordinary circumstances.

Pre-death Instructions

Who decides if I am cremated?

In most cases you make the decision to be cremated. However, your survivors may decide to have you cremated, generally due to special family circumstances, but rarely against your will.

How do I make my wishes known?

If you desire that your body be cremated you can make those wishes known in your will and in documents designed to help plan and prepare your funeral.

Must I honor my parent’s or spouse’s wish to cremate them?

Out of respect for loved ones, you will want to do all you can to carry out the wishes of the deceased concerning funeral services provided they are in keeping with Church practice. Yet, you must always keep in mind the therapeutic value to the family of celebrating the full funeral liturgy with the body present. This may significantly outweigh your reasons for cremation before the funeral liturgy.

The Funeral Rites
What funeral rites are celebrated when person is cremated?

The Church strongly prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body. However, when this is not possible, all the usual rites whig are celebrated with the body present may also be celebrated in the presence of cremated remains. In a appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals, the United States bishops have included prayers to be used when the cremated remains of a loved one are present in church. (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix II #432-438)

The following rituals may be celebrated:

  • Prayers After Death
  • Gathering in the Presence of the Body
  • Vigil for the Deceased
  • Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass
  • Rite of Committal

During the liturgies, the cremated remains are treated with the same dignity and respect as the body.

Prayers After Death
This ritual is used immediately after death. The presence of the minister, the readings, and the prayers can be of great comfort to the family. (Order of Christian Funerals, #101-108)

Gathering in the Presence of the Body
The ritual can also be of great comfort to family members and friends. It allows for a time of simple prayer and shared silence. (Order of Christian Funerals, #109-118)

Vigil for the Deceased
If cremation has already taken place, friend and family may still gather to pray. While it has been a tradition to pray the rosary in some regions, the Vigil for the Deceased is a Liturgy of the Word service, which includes prayer for the deceased and recognition of his/her Christian life. (Order of Christian Funerals, #54-97)

Funeral Mass
Should I schedule a Funeral Mass before or after cremation?

The Church strongly prefers cremation after the Funeral Mass. However, if it is not possible for the body to be present at the Funeral Mass, an insult has been granted by the Holy See which provides for the celebration of the Mass with the cremated remains in church.

Do I need permission to have cremated remains in church (for the funeral liturgy)?

The indult granting the diocesan bishops of the United States authority to permit a funeral liturgy in the presence of the cremated remains (in place of the body) requires two things. First, the diocesan bishop must authorize this practice for his diocese. Second, each individual case requires permission. Your pastor will need to seek permission for you.

What length of time is there between death and the funeral Mass?

The answer to this question depends on various factors, just as in the case of funerals with the body. The place of death, the location of the crematory, scheduling a time for cremation, the schedule of the parish church, and other circumstances impact the timing. Once all arrangements have been made, you should generally allow at least one day between death and the celebration of the funeral liturgy.

What happens at the Funeral Mass with cremated remains?

A journey which began at baptism come to conclusion as we enter into eternal life. Significant attention soul be given to the primary symbols of the Catholic funeral liturgy, as stated in the Order of Christian Funerals and its commentaries. The paschal candle and sprinkling with holy water are primary symbols of baptism and should be used during the funeral Mass. However, the pall is not used. Photos and other mementos ma be used at the vigil, but are not appropriate for the Mass. During the Mass, the cremated remains should be treated with the same dignity and respect as the body. They are to be sealed in a worthy vessel. They may be carried in procession and/or placed on a table where the coffin normally would be with the Easter candle nearby.

Rite of Committal
The body is always laid to rest with solemnity and dignity. So too, the Order of Christian Funerals provides for the internment of cremated remains. (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix II #438)

This information is a collaborative effort of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and the Worship Offices of Michigan and Ohio in consolation with Rev. Richard Rutherford.
Excerpts from Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Catholic Funeral Rites ©1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc. (USCC): Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix II ©1997 USCC. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
©1999 Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. Revised 2000.



1. Does the Catholic Church permit cremation? Answer: Yes.
Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites. (413)

2. What should be done with cremated remains?
The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased. (417)

3. Can non-Catholics receive Communion at a Catholic Mass? Answer: No.
As Catholics, we believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of our oneness in faith, life and worship. Members of churches with whom we are not yet fully united are therefore not ordinarily invited to participate in Holy Communion....
We welcome our fellow Christians to the celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us "that they may all be one" (Jn 17:21).
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches [e.g., Protestants] with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 § 4).
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family. (USCCB Statement)

4. Can a national flag (or other insignia) be used during a Catholic funeral? Answer: No.
A pall may be placed over the coffin when it is received at the church. A reminder of the baptismal garment of the deceased, the pall is a sign of the Christian dignity of the person. The use of the pall also signifies that all are equal before God. (38)
Only Christian symbols may rest on or be placed near the coffin during the funeral liturgy. Any other symbols, for example, national flags, or flags or insignia of associations, have no place in the funeral liturgy. (38)
Any national flags or the flags or insignia of associations to which the deceased belonged are to be removed from the coffin at the entrance of the church. They may be replaced after the coffin has been taken from the church. (132)

5. Can scripture readings be replaced by non-biblical readings in a Catholic funeral? Answer: No.
In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the word of God. The readings proclaim to the assembly the paschal mystery, teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom, and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God’s designs for a world in which suffering and death will relinquish their hold on all whom God has called his own. (22)
In the celebration of the liturgy of the word at the funeral liturgy, the biblical readings may not be replaced by non-biblical readings. But during prayer services with the family non-biblical readings may be used in addition to readings from Scripture. (23) 

Music Guidelines for Catholic Funerals

Music is an important part of Catholic funeral rites. Music allows convictions and feelings to be expressed that words alone may fail to convey. Music has the power to strengthen the faith and hope of those present. The hymns chosen should express the mystery of our salvation in Christ, namely, the saving power of the Lord's suffering, death and resurrection. Funeral music should support, console, and uplift those present and help create in them a spirit of hope in Christ's victory over death and in the Christian's share in that victory. Secular songs (popular/non-religious songs), even though they may have been meaningful to the deceased or the family, do not capture the Gospel message of hope nor the sacred quality of Christian worship, and so secular songs are not appropriate for funeral services. Secular songs would be more appropriate for a funeral reception (or for a non-religious funeral service). Below are some hymn titles offered for your consideration. Other appropriate selections can be made from the parish worship books. Please work with the musicians in making your selection. If there are any questions, please contact the priest (or deacon) assisting with the funeral services.

The number following the Hymn is the # as found in the JourneySongs hymnal.
Amazing Grace  713
Ave Maria (1)* Sample
Be Not Afraid  706 Sample
Blest Are They Who Are Poor In Spirit (We Are the Light of the World)  660 Sample
Bread of Life (2)* 
Center of My Life  Sample
Christ, Be Our Light  661 Sample
Come to the Water  650 Sample
Death Will Be No More  
Eat This Bread (2)  Sample
Eye Has Not Seen
From All That Dwell Below the Skies  603
Hail Mary: Gentle Woman (1)  489 Sample
Hosea  559 Sample
How Great Thou Art  628 Sample
I Am the Bread of Life (2)  Sample
I Know That My Redeemer Lives  586 Sample
Isaiah 49  653 Sample
Jesus, Come to Us  694 Sample
Lead Me, Lord  659 Sample
Like A Shepherd  648 Sample
Lord Of All Hopefulness  690 Sample
On Eagle's Wings  704 Sample
Only In God  712 Sample
Prayer Of St. Francis  738 Sample
Precious Lord, Take My Hand  Sample
Shelter Me, O God  724 Sample
The Lord Is My Light  587 Sample
The Supper Of The Lord (2)  Sample
There Is A Longing  692 Sample
This Alone  689 Sample
Unless A Grain Of Wheat  760 Sample
We Will Rise Again  714 Sample
Yes, I Shall Arise  590 Sample
You Are Mine  
You Are Near  722 Sample

(1) Marian hymns should be used only for the closing hymn or as special music.
(2) This hymn should be used only if a Mass is being celebrated. It is especially appropriate as a communion hymn.
Diocesan Policy
Stacks Image 1037559
Stacks Image 1037563
Stacks Image 1037568
Stacks Image 1037570
Stacks Image 1037575
Stacks Image 1037577
Stacks Image 1037593
Stacks Image 1037595
Stacks Image 1037602
Stacks Image 1037604
Stacks Image 1037613
Stacks Image 1037615
Stacks Image 1037623
Stacks Image 1037625
Stacks Image 1037632
Stacks Image 1037636
Gifts and Memorials
Stacks Image 1037550
Stacks Image 1037552