“Dying you destroyed our death,
Rising you restored our life!”
The parish community assures you of its sympathy, understanding and co-operation at the time of the death of a loved one. The priests of the parish together with those people in the various Lay Ministries will assist you in preparing for the Funeral Liturgies to ensure that they are meaningful for you.
It is important for us all to remember that when we celebrate a funeral Mass we do so in the light of Christ’s death and resurrection.
In the following sections we will set out aspects of the Church’s teaching and guidelines on Christian Funerals and also some resources in terms of readings, prayers and useful contacts and links.
WHAT IS REQUIRED?
1. Please ensure that the Funeral Director makes contact with one of the priests of the parish before funeral arrangments are finalised.
2. Two Ministers of the Word to proclaim the Word of God. We encourage you to view our selection of Readings.
3. At least one Minister of the Word to read the Prayers of the Faithful
4. Two people to present the gifts of bread and wine at the Offertory Procession of the Mass.
5. A Cantor to lead the hymns (or alternatively the Choir, if that can be arranged) and Organist for the music. Ideally the Cantor or another person would also sing the Responsorial Psalm.
6. We ask families to take note of the Diocesan & Parish Guidelines below.
Please note that in the event of a Funeral Mass being celebrated at one of the scheduled Masses on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation the Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist and the Choir who normally carry out their respective Ministries at that Mass shall continue to do so in the normal way.
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them, O Lord!
And Let Perpetual Light Shine On Them Forever!
Christian Funerals- Some Guidelines:
From the Compendium Catechism of the Catholic Church
No 354: What does the Church teach on funerals?
The Christian who dies in Christ reaches at the end of his/her earthly existence the fulfilment of that new life which was begun in Baptism, strengthened in Confirmation, and nourished in the Eucharist, the foretaste of the heavenly banquet. The meaning of the death of a Christian becomes clear in the light of the death and Resurrection of Christ our only hope. The Christian who dies in Christ Jesus goes “away from the body to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
No 355: What do funeral rites express?
Although celebrated in different rites in keeping with the situations and traditions of the various regions, funeral rites express the paschal character of Christian death in hope of the Resurrection. They also manifest the meaning of communion with the departed particularly through prayer for the purification of their souls.
No 356: What are the main moments in funerals?
Usually, funeral rites consist of four principal parts: (1) welcoming the body of the deceased by the community with words of comfort and hope; (2) the Liturgy of the Word; (3) the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and (4) the farewell in which the soul of the departed is entrusted to God, the Source of eternal life, while the body is buried in the hope of the Resurrection.
Some Diocesan & Parish Guidelines for Families
- The priests of this Christian community, in common with priests everywhere, are available to listen to and work with families of the deceased at the time of a funeral in order to help the funeral liturgy to be meaningful, to give reassurance of God’s loving presence and to give thanks to God for the life of the deceased.
- Please ensure that the Funderal Director makes contact with one of the priests of the parish before funeral arrangments are finalised.
- Everyone is asked to remember that a funeral is a sacred occasion.
- The Funeral Liturgy is celebrated as one prayer – consisting of the Mass, which is the memorial of Christ’s death and Resurrection, and the Prayers of Christian Burial at the grave. The prayers at the graveside are not a separate “event”.
- In accordance with local tradition, those attending funerals offer sympathy to the families following the prayers at the grave. Only in very exceptional situations (e.g. extremely bad weather) will sympathizing with the family take place in the church after the Mass and before the Burial Rites.
- Practices such as personal poems about the deceased, the singing of secular songs etc are not permitted as these do not reflect the sacredness of the occasion.
- Families who wish to make personal contributions or tributes are welcome to do so after the final blessing at the graveside or in the home before final removal or indeed at the venue for refreshments afterwards, which is also a gathering in fellowship of the community.
- If items or symbols associated with the deceased are to be brought to the sanctuary, this should happen before the actual beginning of the Funeral Mass. The use of inappropriate symbols is not permitted. Families are asked to liaise with the priest on this matter.
- At a funeral we all give witness to Christian hope in the Resurrection. The funeral liturgy points us to God, the source of life and the fountain of mercy. At a funeral we bring hope and consolation to those bereaved.
- All of this is offered as catechesis on the meaning of Christian death and to prepare families for a Funeral Mass and Liturgy that has meaning for them and which fits into the overall liturgical life of the Church.
To you O Lord, I lift up my soul! (Ps. 25:1)