By Monica Doumit" />


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  • Kerry Stewart 3 years

    Dear Anh. A very interesting and timely article. May I contribute the following as a 20-year celebrant (religious and civil). We’ve been observing the statistics since Covid began well over a year ago; these show that the majority of folk now arrange for the deceased to go straight to the crematorium, bypassing the church because of social distancing, and the cost saving (another loss of income for the parishes). Most church’s don’t offer streaming of the service, that is very popular now when so many can’t attend. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop – the funeral company arranges everything including the collection of the body from where-ever, mortuary services, creation and printing of the order of service, a particular celebrant of their choice who harmonizes with the family, the flower arrangements, the tribute for publication, even the catered refreshments at the end of the usually 30-minute service; quite often the attendees say farewell at the chapel, and the body proceeds to the crem.

    The larger funeral directors (corporations) have spent squillions refurbishing their chapels in Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra etc. to take advantage of this. This is a business for these big companies and they see the churches as competition. The younger secular population is generally ignorant of a requiem Mass, and ask simply for a Scripture reading and the Lord’s prayer at the chapel. Yes, we can become emotional and pine for ‘the old days’ but perhaps the Church should consider these facts. You can see why grave-sites are being environmentally questioned throughout the world (several articles in the UK Tablet relate to this throughout Europe), when most simply wish to sprinkle the ashes of their loved one to the wind, and place a perpetual plaque in a meaningful location.

    I feel, as a practicing Catholic that I need to say all this. Let’s adapt, or the Church will become even more irrelevant.

    I hope the Bishops read this.

    Thanks, Kerry
    PS I’m happy for constructive responses ….