Jesuits urge Catholics to opt for shroud burial

Mumbai: The Jesuit priests managing a parish in Mumbai have urged their people to consider shroud burials and forgo the use of coffins as part of their Lenten duties.

“Lent is a good time for all of us to contemplate on a change in our choices. One such choice that the parish is encouraging is to opt for ‘shroud burial’ as an ecological measure and a sign of simplicity and humility,” says a message in website of St Peter’s Church, Bandra, a Catholic stronghold in the western Indian city.

The website also claims that all Jesuit priests in Mumbai have pledged for such a burial already. “Please discuss this in your families and take a common decision,” it adds.

The parish cemetery has 350 graves, so its vicar Jesuit Frazer Mascarenhas pushes for the reform on home turf.

“This move is in keeping with Pope Francis’ letter where he dwelt on ‘Care for Creation’. Shroud burials are encouraged because otherwise bodies take years to decompose if we encase them in coffins. Also, it is an embodiment of humility,” he told The Times of India.

The priest says the movement for shroud burial is spreading fast from Thane, Vasai and across Maharashtra. Approximately 200 Jesuit priests in Maharashtra have pledged to opt for shroud burial, he added.

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