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5.11 What if someone dies without the sacraments or a funeral?

Living the sacraments

It is very sad when someone dies before being able to receive the sacraments, both for the sick person and their loved ones. Thankfully there is no need to fear, for while we do what we can to comfort the dying, God’s mercy and love are even greater than the sacraments he gave us. If no priest can access the sick for the sacraments, they can make a perfect act of contrition to be forgiven, and if they tell Jesus of their desire to receive him in Communion they surely receive his presence, for example. No-one dies alone, even if you cannot visit them, for God is with them. And you can accompany them at least with your prayer. Jesus is with us until the end, he has promised! (Mt 28:20).


Funerals are as much needed for the dead as for the living. It is a great pain if extreme circumstances prevent a proper adieu and a funeral. However, do not despair! God surely will receive the dead person with great love and great justice: his desire is that all be saved. There is no need for the body of the deceased to be present to celebrate a funeral Mass in church, even months later if dictated so by the circumstances. Sometimes even praying together is not possible for those who are left behind. But prayer is not dictated by place or distance: wherever you are, you can be united in prayer!

Do not worry: God’s love is even greater than the sacraments he gave us. Wherever they die and in whatever circumstances, we can be with our dead in prayer.