Travolta memorial to celebrate journey
Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:24 p.m.
Few details about today's 4 p.m. memorial service for Jett Travolta at Jumbolair Aviation Estates have been released, but if the ceremony is inspired by his parents' religion, Scientology, it will celebrate not only the life the 16-year-old left behind but also the continuation of his spiritual journey.
"The uniqueness (of the ceremony) is the celebration of the life of the person that has departed the body. And the family has the opportunity to talk about it and celebrate that life together with family and friends," said Karin Pouw, spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology International in Los Angeles.
Scientologists believe that man is an immortal spiritual being. When someone dies, their body passes but their spirit returns to dwell in another body.
Pouw said Scientologists take pains to ensure that no one confuses this with reincarnation because, unlike some other religions, Scientologists don't believe people who die can be reborn as anything other than humans. The service acts a reaffirmation of this belief, she said.
Pouw added that Scientologist funeral or memorial services would not strike someone of another faith as odd or non-traditional. They can be held in any setting the family chooses - a church, outdoors, in a home - and a minister presides. The Scientologists have a book of services that they follow for funerals.
According to other resources, the religion doesn't have a specific custom on the manner with which physical remains are disposed of: they can be buried or burned. The casket, an urn or just a picture could be present at the ceremony.
The service "definitely stresses the value of that person's life, the way that life touched others and made a mark in this world," Pouw said.
John Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, issued a public statement this week, saying, "We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives."
"Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered," said a statement posted on Travolta's Web site.
"We have received many messages of condolence from around the world and we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It has meant so much to us. It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us hope for a brighter future."
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