One of the services funeral homes in North Battleford, SK, plan for in a traditional funeral is the committal service. What is it? And how is it different from a regular funeral? We explain everything you need to know below.

What is a Committal Service?

A committal service is another name for a graveside service, which you may be more familiar with. It’s the part of the funeral service most depicted in movies and TV shows. The “committal” comes from the purpose of the service, which is to commit the body to the ground. The service is considered the final goodbye to the deceased from family and friends and is typically a solemn affair.

What Happens at Committal Service?

As more people personalize their funeral, there may be slight variations in what to expect at a particular committal service. But generally speaking, here’s what happens at a committal service:

  • Guests and the body arrive at the cemetery in a procession or separately at a designated time
  • It’s a short ceremony, so chairs are set up only for immediate family members
  • The religious leader opens the service, leads prayers, and reads the scriptures
  • If allowed, family or friends share a few words
  • Guests walk by the casket to pay their final respects
  • The casket is gently lowered into the grave, and the next of kin throw some dirt into the grave. The religious leader may recite the “ashes to ashes” prayer during this time. Other family members and friends take turns throwing in their dirt.
  • After, guests walk up to the family to offer their condolences.

The service is not over until everyone has offered their condolences. The entire service takes 20 minutes or half an hour at most. Everyone leaves for their homes or heads over to the reception when it’s over.

Can It be Held Alone?

It is far more common for families to hold a committal service immediately after the funeral service. That’s why it’s part of the service pricing by funeral homes. But you can choose to have a standalone committal service. It’s also not unusual to have it before the funeral service. As mentioned earlier, the exact arrangement depends on the family and the deceased’s wishes. In cases when the committal service is held alone, it may last longer than 20 minutes, as the family may wish to include aspects of a regular funeral service.

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Is there Committal Service for Cremation?

A committal service is not exclusive to a burial. You can also have one for cremation if you bury the remains or inter them in a columbarium niche. The exact nature of the service is no different from a full casket burial. The only difference is the cemetery setup. Instead of a casket, the urn is placed on a table or an urn bier with flower arrangements. Also, the grave is much smaller.

Suppose you’re not storing the urn in a niche or burying it. In that case, you can still replicate the spirit of a committal service with a scattering ceremony. The service arrangement is slightly different, and it can happen anywhere. A lot goes into planning a committal service or scattering ceremony, and our North Battleford, SK funeral home director, can help and guide you through it. Call us now to set an appointment or complete this online form. We are available 24/7.