Immaculate Heart of Mary
About IHM
Prayer & Worship
Who are we?

Immaculate Heart of Mary is a Catholic Church of the Roman Rite. Established in 1946, IHM serves the communities of Los Alamos and White Rock in the County of Los Alamos, NM. St. Joseph's mission church serves the people of White Rock.

Funeral Planning at IHM

If you have recently lost a loved one, our heartfelt condolences go out to you. All of our deceased are continually kept in our hearts and prayers. As you prepare to make your funeral/other service plans, know that we have a team of personnel at IHM ready to assist you during this difficult time. To ensure that the planning and funeral service itself go smoothly, please contact the main office as early as possible at 662-6193. We will work with you to try to accommodate your preferences for time and date.


Funeral Masses are normally scheduled during weekday mornings so as not to conflict with our weekend liturgies and to better ensure the availability of key personnel. Rosaries (if desired) are normally held the evening prior to the Mass.

The Rites/Ceremonies:

We always use the official rites of the Roman Catholic Church and are not permitted to change them.

Eulogies, if desired, are given at the rosary on the preceding evening, at the cemetery prior to internment, or at the reception following the Mass. They should not be given during the Mass.

Notice to Parish:

We will post a notice in the Church of the scheduled funeral rites for your loved one as soon as possible to inform the parish community.


As an aid to worship during the funeral Mass, we publish a program of events for the service. Please supply a favorite photograph of your loved one for use on the cover page. If you provide a hard copy photo, it will be returned. Digital photos should be 300 dpi or better. This, or another photo of your choosing, will be used for the Notice to the Parish mentioned above.


Because the funeral Mass, as all Masses, represents our highest form of worship, all hymns must be consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Therefore, all music must be approved by the pastor and liturgist. Normally we do not allow other musicians/singers to perform because of our unfamiliarity with both their quality of playing/singing (of great importance in our liturgies) and the sensitivity of our instruments and sound system. Exceptions for family members or very close friends may be considered. No recorded music is to be used. If desired, recorded music and other musicians can be used at the reception. A list of appropriate hymns is provided here: Heritage Missal

Personnel for the Mass:

You may want to choose 1 or 2 people to proclaim the readings from holy scripture. These people should be practicing Catholics. In addition, you may choose 2 or 3 people to act as the gift bearers; they will bring up the bread and wine during the Mass. These people should at least be baptized. If you decide not to designate any of these people, the Church can provide them.


As during a normal Sunday Mass, an Old Testament reading, a responsorial psalm, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading are used for the funeral. Possible selections are provided by the USCCB.


IHM does not charge for funerals. However, if your financial circumstances permit, a modest gift of at least $50 is requested for each musician and singer. Gifts to other personnel and to the parish are accepted but not necessary.


Cremation is acceptable in the Catholic Church; however, it is much preferred to have the body present during the funeral Mass and cremation performed afterwards. We recognize that this is sometimes not practicable, especially for financial reasons.

Disposition of cremated remains ("cremains") should be as a whole in a blessed cemetery or other sacred place used for such purposes. Ashes should NOT be scattered, divided or kept as keepsakes--even if that was the wish of the deceased. Proper burial/disposition of remains affirms our Christian belief in the bodily resurrection.

Sometimes people ask for a scattering of their ashes due to romantic but mistaken beliefs of the eternal--that their remains will somehow be united with a cherished place. However, because they have gone to God, they now know absolutely that following the teaching of the Church is what ought to be done, and would want loved ones to act accordingly with that teaching. Therefore, you can be at ease about NOT complying with such a last wish such as "scattering" or dividing the remains. See the following link for a recent Vatican document on this subject of Burial and Cremation


A deacon will accompany you to a local cemetery for interment. If the interment is at SFNC or other distant burial location, we will try to have a deacon available. If one is not available, you may be able to arrange the for a deacon from one of the nearby Catholic churches.

Veterans and spouses often desire to be buried at SFNC. Know that their schedule is very strict, and that you would need to arrange an interment with them prior to scheduling a funeral Mass if possible. Very often the funeral and interment are done on different days because of the SFNC schedule.


A post-Mass reception at no charge is provided by our funeral meals ministry at our parish hall if desired and if scheduling permits. It is usually a light luncheon with sandwiches and pot luck items provided by our parishioners. If you have special food requirements, you will need to make arrangements with a caterer or other provider. Donations are welcome but not required. The reception may be held either prior to or after the interment at a local cemetery. If the interment is not held locally, a reception, if desired, may still be held directly after the Mass or liturgy. If remarks or a eulogy is desired at the reception, a microphone can be provided if requested. In addition, a projector for pictures or a video from a computer file also can be provided if needed. If you would like to display hard copy pictures or collages, easels are available for your use.