Choosing Cremation

Choosing Cremation Doesn't Mean You Have to Omit Funeral Services

Traditional or contemporary funeral services can be held before cremation.

Funeral Services - YES

Cremation - YES

Contrary to what you may have heard - choosing cremation does not mean that you can't have a funeral service as well. Holding a traditional or contemporary funeral service before cremation is an important first step to begin the healing process. Whether a traditional or contemporary service, studies show that funeral services are of value.

A survey of Pennsylvania funeral homes revealed that 93% of the families served held some type of funeral service, including those who had selected cremation as the final disposition. Families in Pennsylvania realize the importance of funeral services that:

  • Provide an opportunity to express feelings of grief
  • Encourage sharing of one's life and memories
  • Create a forum to share spiritual values and beliefs
  • Serve as a rite of passage

Answering Your Questions About Cremation

Must I consult a funeral director?
In Pennsylvania, only licensed funeral directors can enter into contracts for cremation and funeral services.

Can we still have a viewing?
Yes. Choosing cremation does not preclude having any type of funeral service. Traditional or contemporary services can be held before the cremation process.

What can I do with the remains?
Many people choose to place the remains in an urn, which can then be buried, placed in a columbarium or kept at home. Others may want to scatter the cremated remains in a location that held a special significance.

How long has cremation been around?
The practice of cremation dates back to 3000 B.C. in Europe and the near East.

When did cremation start in the United States?
In 1876, Dr. F. Julius LeMoyne, a prominent Washington, PA physician, built the first U.S. crematory. The first public crematory, located in Lancaster, PA, opened in 1884.

Are there any religious restrictions?
Most religions now permit cremation. In 1963, Pope Paul VI changed the Catholic church's standing and began to allow cremation. If you have questions specific to your religion, please consult a licensed funeral director. 

"The funeral ritual is unsurpassed in providing a

good beginning for the healthy grieving process."

Therese A. Rando, Ph.D

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