The early Church was one of martyrs, the first being the Lord Jesus himself. Early Christians regarded the burial site of the martyrs as sacred places, and in many cases built churches at these locations. The Catholic Church has a long tradition of burial rites dating back to its earliest days, when the burial of deceased Christians took place in the catacombs of Rome.

It was in those same catacombs that the early Christians gathered for the breaking of the Eucharist. The Church marked the burial of the faithful with special rituals and held burial grounds to be sacred traditions that the Church has preserved until the present time.

At the time of death, Catholics are called upon to think about the body as a Temple of the Holy Spirit, nourished at the Eucharistic table and filled with grace at Baptism and Confirmation. The death of a Catholic is celebrated at a Funeral Mass, where the bereaved will find comfort and strength in the Eucharist, celebrated for them on behalf of their deceased relative or friend.

Following the celebration of the Funeral Mass, the Rites conclude with the burial in a Catholic Cemetery. It is here that the body is laid to rest among fellow believers of the same faith community; professing the same conviction that one day body will reunite with soul, and whole persons will rise again in glory to be with the Risen Lord and the Kingdom of God will be fully realized.