What Is a Catholic Memorial Mass?

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A Catholic memorial Mass is a service to honor a deceased person when the body or cremated remains are not present. It is usually celebrated within 30 days of the death after the deceased is buried elsewhere.

A traditional Catholic funeral Mass includes many blessings directed at the body or remains, such as anointing with holy water and incense. Prayers and songs focus on the body or ashes that represent the deceased. A memorial Mass, on the other hand, has alternate readings and blessings. It provides a way for mourners to honor the deceased when the body is not recovered or the family is unable to travel to the burial area.