What happens at a Catholic burial?

The final part of the funeral—the committal—takes place at the graveside, then the body is laid to rest.

After the funeral Mass concludes, the body is often immediately interred in its final resting place at the cemetery. Funeral attendees follow the hearse in procession to the grave, which is already prepared for the ceremony.

“The priest blesses the place of burial, from which the body of the one buried will rise on judgment day.”

A typical graveside committal service includes a brief liturgy and prayers before the interment of the casket in the earth. Sometimes family members and friends toss a flower or handful of dirt into the grave, an action that reminds all present that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). In the case of cremation, the disposition of the urn—often into a niche within a columbarium or mausoleum—replaces an earth burial.