Dear Parish Family,
As Catholics, we commend our deceased loved ones to God and mourn as a people of hope trusting in the promise of Christ’s resurrection. The Funeral Rites of the Church are the acts that express our belief that we will one day be with Christ and those who have gone before us. Please know of our prayers for you and may you take comfort in the grace and love of God during this time of sorrow.
The Order of Christian Funerals is a three-part ritual, with Vigil (viewing), Funeral Mass, and Rite of Committal (entombment). It is encouraged that the Funeral Rites be conducted in the presence of the body of the deceased. This practice is most in accord with the sacred principles and rituals of the Christian Faith. However, the Mass of Christian Burial may also be celebrated with the cremains present in the church.
The funeral home will contact the parish to schedule a time for the Mass or Service. As a general rule, the Funeral Mass for a Catholic is celebrated in his or her parish of registration. Once the date and time have been determined, Father will then contact the family to have a meeting setup in order to gather information pertaining to the deceased and the funeral Mass. Readings and music for the funeral Mass are taken from the prescribed liturgical ritual.
The Vigil for the Deceased
The Vigil is usually celebrated at the funeral home. The Coordinator will arrange for a deacon/Priest to be present and assist with a Rosary or Scripture Service. The funeral home will be able to assist you with any special musical selections or photographic DVD memorials that you wish to play at the Vigil. The Vigil Service is the most appropriate time for a reflection or eulogy, sharing of stories, special music, etc. The funeral home will facilitate this at the family's request.
For the Funeral Mass, The Christian symbol of Baptism is placed on the casket at the beginning of the Funeral Mass. All secular items, such as flags or Medals of Honor are important, but not part of the Funeral Mass. These secular and important symbols are removed at the church door and a pall is placed over the casket. This symbolizes our unity in Christ through our baptism. Only Christian symbols are used within the church. Flowers are not permitted at a funeral Mass. Photos and other items are normally displayed in the vestibule area with the Book of Remembrance. A small table will be placed in the front of the altar for the cremains. Some families choose to have a picture on the table with the urn.
The Rite of Committal
“The rite of committal, the conclusion of the Funeral Rites, is the final act of the community of faith, in caring for the body of its deceased member (Order of Christian Funerals, 1998, p. 108).” The committal should immediately follow the Funeral Mass at the cemetery.