Funerals go virtual in the pandemic. Here's how to plan one with meaning and honor the dead

A small contingent of Alicia de Artola's family gathers to pay tribute to her late grandmother. More than 100 others participated in the Mass online.

(CNN)On a recent Sunday, Alicia de Artola sat watching a funeral for her maternal grandmother, Martha Palacios, who had just died at the age of 96.

Because even modest gatherings for any purpose are banned all over the country, this funeral was almost entirely online. About 50 people or households were present and participating in the funeral via the Zoom call, with another 50 or so tuning in to watch the simultaneous Facebook livestream of the proceedings, she said.
The 30-year-old writer and podcaster, based in Los Angeles, was close with her grandmother. She helped out as a caregiver in her later years. Now she actively helped plan many aspects of the virtual service in her memory.
    "When we found out we couldn't do something graveside, we decided to do it virtually," she said. "It was important for us to do the ritual."
    They laid out a hope chest -- adorned with roses -- in the center of their living room, symbolizing a casket.
    The family is Roman Catholic, and an uncle who is a priest performed the "order of the Mass as it would normally be," she said. "We wanted it to feel as polished as possible."