Press Note - Burials
There have been several queries regarding the arrangements for Catholics burials in the Archdiocese of Bombay. Hence this Press Note.
The Archdiocese wishes to make clear that from the very beginning of the lockdown, the clergy has been responding to funeral requests with care and compassion.
The Cardinal’s directive of March 23, 2020 stated the following:
People should be encouraged to pray for the deceased but there is to be no public Requiem Mass now. The body may to be taken directly to the burial ground where all the Funeral Prayers can be said before the burial. Keep the number of mourners to the minimum. Please keep the Police informed of the Funeral.
This is a moment of great sadness for the family of the deceased. Assure them that once the crisis is over, we will have a proper Requiem Mass in the Church with the Eulogy, etc. We will give directives about this later.
On May 5, 2020, the directives were:
A shortened funeral service is permitted in the Cemetery: the Eucharist with the last burial prayers; or the burial rite without the Eucharist.
On June 19, 2020, the priests were informed that the Municipal Authorities have permitted burials in all cemeteries.
According to our information, most of the priests have responded with compassion to the request of the grieving family members.
It has to be noted that the BMC has changed its directives for COVID-19 burials from first insisting on cremation, then allowing burials in some cemeteries, to now permitting burials in all cemeteries. The Archdiocesan norms have been updated according to the revised Municipal directives from time to time.
The latest video message of the Cardinal given was on the feast of the Sacred Heart on June 19, 2020. Link: Click here
We hope this clarifies the position of the Archdiocese of Bombay and the response of our priests.
+Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
June 26, 2020