“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” John 14:2-3
Since most people do not frequently plan funerals, it can be hard to know what to do when a loved one dies. At the time of death, one should contact the funeral home with which one has pre-arranged services or which one prefers to use, if no pre-arrangements have been made. The funeral home takes the lead, helping you to arrange all necessary details for care of the deceased and for the funeral rites. After you meet with the funeral home staff, they will contact our parishes to arrange a time for the funeral.
Not long after meeting with the funeral director, members of the family meet with the priest or deacon who will officiate at the funeral. This is a time to plan the funeral itself. The most important part of the planning is the selection of Scripture readings. A funeral liturgy includes one reading from the Old Testament, one reading from a New Testament book, and one reading from a Gospel. Please choose from the Church's selection of Funeral Readings. Families will often have a wake service at the funeral home the evening before the funeral. This is an opportune time to visit, to share memories, and to comfort one another. Families may also have a time of visitation in the church preceding the funeral. The wake service, visitation, and luncheon are the most appropriate times for friends and family members to speak in remembrance of the deceased. The funeral itself is a time to call on the Lord's grace and to remember the saving acts the Lord has accomplished for us, especially for the deceased. Jesus' Death and Resurrection have opened the way to eternal life! We come to pray for the soul of our departed brother or sister and to remember the promises of God's saving grace. It is possible to have a short remembrance toward the end of the funeral liturgy. Please check our Guidelines for Remembrances at Funerals for more details. By the time of the funeral, all the arrangements have been made, and all the family and friends need to do is pray. Along with the Scripture readings above, the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy are wonderful prayers to offer for the dead and for the comfort of those who have lost loved ones. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of grief.
"Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Matt 28:20
Does the Catholic Church allow cremation?
While it is not preferred because of the dignity of the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit destined for resurrection, cremation is allowed, provided that the choice of cremation does not indicate a lack of belief in the resurrection of the body and provided that the cremated remains are treated with the same respect due to a human body. The cremated remains must be buried in blessed ground or placed in a mausoleum or columbarium like a body. The scattering or sharing of ashes is not permissible. Also, it is strongly encouraged that the cremation take place after the Mass of Christian burial. Please see reasons for and details about the Catholic teaching on cremation here.
What kind of music is appropriate at the funeral Mass?
Sacred music is used in keeping with the sacred character of the Mass. Also, music for the Mass is congregational by its nature and thus should be ‘singable’ by the congregation. Secular (recorded or performed) songs are generally not appropriate to the funeral Mass, however meaningful, and could very easily be used at the wake or luncheon.