May 10, 2024

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If you’re searching for a cemetery that fits your needs for your own or your loved one’s final resting place, you may come across some unfamiliar terms. If you’re a follower of the Catholic faith, you may have heard guidance that you should choose to be buried on consecrated grounds. But what exactly does it mean? Let’s discuss this important term and why it’s so vital in the Catholic faith.

What Are Consecrated Grounds?

Technically speaking, “consecrated grounds” can refer to multiple things in the Catholic religion. It can refer to the ground upon which a sacred object in the Church, like a church itself, stands or once stood. But more generally, it’s land that has been blessed through a liturgical ceremony by God. When someone mentions “consecrated grounds,” they are often referencing a Catholic cemetery.


When a new Catholic cemetery arises, a bishop or his designee offers a blessing upon the cemetery. He then walks around the boundary of the cemetery and then within it, sprinkling holy water and saying prayers, asking God to keep the grounds clean from unholy spirits. He also asks that God would bring those buried there to eternal life and comfort those who mourn their passing.

Why Should You Be Buried on Consecrated Grounds?

A part of the blessing of the cemetery states that all those who were buried on these grounds and who were loyal followers of the teachings of Christ will be rewarded with unending joy in Heaven. Catholic followers are not forbidden from deciding to be buried in a secular cemetery, but the Code of Canon Law does say that should a Catholic decide on a secular cemetery, the gravesite must be “properly blessed.”


While memorial services overseen by a clergy member can fulfill the blessing, a clergy member can also satisfy this duty during a separate time. But by choosing to be buried in the consecrated grounds of a Catholic cemetery, there is no concern over the question of whether the gravesite is appropriately blessed. You can confidently know that that cemetery has already been consecrated, and therefore, you or your loved one can rest knowing you’re upholding the beliefs of your faith.


The necessity for a proper blessing or consecrated ground also applies to those who have been cremated. Since 1963, the Catholic Church has allowed for cremation, but certain guidelines must still be upheld. To preserve the sanctity of the body as a temple for the Holy Spirit, and affirming belief in the resurrection of the body, cremated remains should be laid to rest in a consecrated place, according to the Church.

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