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Planning a funeral

January 19, 2010
It seems that every day I am reminded of my own mortality. If it’s not news from Haiti, it’s news that someone has died – or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. No one wants to think about death or about losing a loved one, but death is one of life's certainties: we will all die, and how we prepare for this time is terribly important.
I am not an expert, but at any time of loss it is very important that we surround ourselves with support - not just friends and family but professionals, too. The worst thing we can do is isolate ourselves, although that may be what we want to do most. When it comes to death, in particular, it’s also important that we have the assistance of good, experienced funeral directors. And it may be wise to think about it when we are not under pressure or when we’re grieving.
This is the topic of an all-new Catholic Focus: Coming Home. We invited some friends from Dignity Memorial, a network of funeral homes from all over North America, to help us sort through some of those things that we don't want to leave unprepared. Tune in and find out what things you should consider when planning a funeral. Find out what to look for when searching for a funeral provider. Find out what the difference is between pre-planning and pre-arranging a funeral and, more or less, how much it can all cost.
As Christians we believe that the best is yet to come and so preparing emotionally and spiritually is certainly most important, but we can't forget all the practical stuff either.
The prayer at the end of the funeral liturgy says:
"For even dead, we are not at all separated from one another, because we all run the same course and we will find one another again in the same place. We shall never be separated, for we live for Christ, and now we are united with Christ as we go toward him . . . we shall all be together in Christ."
And in many ways, it is a good funeral director, not just one who is sensitive to our beliefs, but one who will put our needs and concerns first, one who is centred on living people, that can help us celebrate this new kind of unity.
Be sure to watch Coming Home on Catholic Focus, this Wednesday, January 20th, at 7 and 11 pm ET (8 pm and midnight PT)