The following comes from a November 1 Catholic San Francisco article by Valerie Schmalz:
A “strongly worded” document from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the disposal of cremated remains means some Catholics may have concerns about past decisions to scatter the ashes of loved ones, said Monica Williams, director of the archdiocesan Catholic cemeteries.
But Williams said there are still ways to honor at a Catholic cemetery those whose cremains have been scattered and to insure they will be prayed for as an individual as all the dead are prayed for at Holy Cross Cemetery and all Catholic cemeteries.
At Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, a number of options exist to make sure each individual is remembered, even if their bodies have already been cremated and dispersed, Williams said.
The cemetery makes provisions for those who cannot afford burial or cremation. It has also created special areas throughout the cemetery for cremated remains that offer a wide range of prices and memorial options, Williams said. “We want to make the cemeteries accessible for people to have cremated remains placed, for those who believe our church’s teaching about the cemetery as a place of prayer and as a place to remember,” she said.
The cemetery will also install a memorial plaque for a person whose ashes have been dispersed or otherwise are unavailable, so that the most important act of mercy may be performed for them – they will be prayed for along with all those buried at the cemetery, Williams said. The person’s name may also be added to an existing family headstone, Williams said.
For instance, she said, a woman whose husband’s ashes were scattered was able to add an urn with mementos of him in a niche where she would eventually be buried. The man’s name was placed on the plaque at the niche so that he would be individually remembered and prayed for at once, Williams said.