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Carolynn Smithard wrote:

Hi, guys —

I had a funeral Mass for my husband at a Catholic Church and the cost was $500.00!

  • Please let me know why it was so expensive.

Thank you,

Carolynn Smithard

  { Why was the funeral Mass for my husband so expensive? }

Mike replied:

Hi Carolynn,

While your question falls outside the scope of our mission: to clarify misperceptions about the faith, I'll do my best to give you my personal opinion to the question you have asked.

All Catholic dioceses around the world have an array of cultures and demographics:

  • rich and poor
  • (lapsed, non-practicing) Catholics, and
  • (faithful, giving, practicing) Catholics, who, in certain cases, may have to support lapsed Catholics

This can both, allow or limit, what the bishop and diocese can do.

Remember each diocese has a budget too! In this area, the cardinal or bishop may have to make difficult decisions. He has to do whatever he can with a limited budget. In addition, the Church also acknowledges that as Jesus says in the Scriptures, “a worker is worth his wage.” (Luke 10:7)

Although there are many inside the Church who are ready and willing to provide services to the Church for free, (like our little group), there are others that have financial responsibilities, which involve making enough income to support their families. The Church cannot ignore this.

I am sure the local Catholic diocese and bishop does the best they can to keep, both liturgical and canonical, ceremonies affordable.

Fr. Jonathan may have two cents to throw in as well.


Carolynn replied:

Thanks for the reply Mike.

Jesus did not say to prepare $500 to bury the dead.

We do not have this kind of money.

  • It is not the responsibility of the faithful for the parish's budget?


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Dear Carolynn,

The offering for the Church and priest is optional if you go to your own parish. Your parish is based on the territory where you live. There the priest must provide the service whether you are able to pay or not.

Usually the majority of the cost is the music which is purely a contract between you and them. When parishes lump it all together it gives the wrong impression.

If the entire Church cost for the funeral service was $500 — with the music separate and the deceased was a territorial parishioner of the Church, then it doesn't sound right.

Call the Chancery. If it is a large diocese, see if there is an office for Worship and ask what the standard is for the diocese.

If what happened to you is outside the norm, then you have a legitimate complaint.

Fr. Jonathan

Bob replied:


I can give you an insight, as I play at funerals in a Catholic church.

From the fee the church collects, at least half a dozen people are paid (including the organist and cantor) and when all persons are paid, the parish probably has $100. left, if that, to pay the bills, which for a building like a church, runs into thousands each month.

It just isn't that much money once it is spread around.


Bob Kirby

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