The Funeral Liturgy
- Gathering rites honor the life and body of the deceased.
- The casket and family are met at the entrance of the church. The casket is sprinkled with holy water and the pall (white covering) is placed on the casket by the family. This is a reminder of the baptismal water and garment and being claimed by Christ.
- Some of the music for the liturgy may be chosen by the family; however the music must come from the body of sacred music.
- The Gathering Song draws the assembly into the sacred moment.
- The casket is moved to the front of the main aisle by the pall bearers and placed in front of the paschal candle, which is a symbol of the union with Christ – the light of Christ given at baptism.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
- Scripture readings reflect the hope of eternity and our life in Christ.
- Old and New Testament readings may be chosen and read by the family or their designee. Although families are invited to participate in the readings, please take into consideration the person’s ability to read in public under the circumstances and the intensity of the moment.
- The Old Testament Psalm is sung between the two readings when musicians are available; otherwise it is spoken.
- The Gospel is proclaimed by the presider (priest) followed by the Homily, which is also delivered by the presider.
- Intercessions may be chosen, written and delivered by the family.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
- Preparation of the Gifts – families may choose the song played during the presentation of the gifts and may bring up the gifts of bread and wine.
- Eucharistic prayer
- The Lord’s prayer
- Sign of Peace
- Lamb of God
- Communion Song – may be chosen by the family.
- Moment of Meditation – this may be a piece of sacred music, a moment of silence or a brief reflection upon the life of the deceased. Please note that this is not a eulogy but a brief statement about the essence of the deceased and their spiritual legacy. Eulogizing should be done at the wake or funeral luncheon.
RITE OF COMMENDATION
- Liturgical prayers are said over the casket and the casket is incensed by the presider of the Mass.
- The song played here is usually chosen by the musicians and reflects liturgical texts which request the deceased to be led into paradise.
- The casket is then taken out to the place of interment by the pall bearers.
- Recessional song – may be chosen by the family.
Funeral Liturgy in the presence of Cremains
The Rite of Christian Funerals was revised recently to allow the same funeral rites for cremains (ashes) as for the deceased body, although the Church still prefers the preservation of the body.
Cremains that are present may be sprinkled with holy water, incensed and then the same liturgical prayers (with just a few alterations) are used at the Mass. Cremains are usually placed at the front of the main aisle with the Paschal Candle.
A Memorial Mass
A Memorial Mass is a regular liturgy where prayers in remembrance of the deceased are used from the sacramentary and appropriate scriptures are chosen. This Mass is usually celebrated when a deceased family member is buried in another location or when the body or cremains have been buried prior to the mass.