The death of a loved one, whose life has been a major part of our own, can be a soul-wrenching experience. We need help to find ways to carry on with our lives.
The Catholic Church has sacred rituals that help us deal with the death of a loved one. These rituals, by invoking our Christian faith, give due honor to the deceased and also bring comfort to those who grieve.
The principal Catholic ritual on behalf of the deceased is the Funeral Mass, which concludes with the prayers of Final Commendation.
Why is the Funeral Mass so important?
Central to our faith is the proclamation that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. He passed through death into eternal glory with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. We firmly believe that all who are baptized in Jesus and profess faith in him by word and deed are claimed by him. Whether in life or death, we belong to Christ. Death is not the final word for us. We reaffirm these truths at every Eucharist and in particular at the Funeral Mass.
These truths of our faith can give us hope and consolation in the face of death, but we cannot deny the grief we feel at the loss of someone we love. Even Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. Through the wake, funeral Mass, and final commendation, our sadness and grief are tempered by our confidence that the one we love now rests in the peace of Jesus Christ.
Inform the Funeral Home Director of your intention to have a Funeral Mass for your loved one. They will contact the Parish to arrange the details.
If it is not possible to have the body or cremated remains present, a Memorial Mass can be arranged.
The Wake Service
A priest from the Parish will come to the wake, normally on the last evening, to offer a brief prayer service to commend the deceased to God.
Graveside services are normally provided by the cemetery staff. The funeral home director will assist you in this. A priest from the parish is normally not available to go to the cemetery.
Music at the Liturgy
All music at a Funeral Mass must be of a sacred character and reflect our belief in the saving power of Jesus Christ and the mercy and compassion of God. The parish Director of Music determines the appropriateness of any requests for special pieces of music.
The funeral director will normally be allowed to bring floral arrangements into the church. Please check with the priest celebrant or the church sacristan as to their number and suitable placement. Large wreaths on stands are not allowed in the church.