Catholic Funeral Tradition
"At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of Baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist."
(Order of Christian Funerals, no. 4)
A funeral gives a place where family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, eulogies are usually encouraged to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.
Funeral Masses are not allowed in funeral homes. The Funeral Liturgy outside of Mass, as provided in the Order of Christian Funerals, is allowed in the funeral home.
Services in the order of Christian Funerals
Three distinct rites are provided at the time of the funeral. Each rite serves an important purpose in guiding our family and friends through loss, grief and the journey of healing. While all Catholic funerals share a similar format, the celebration of remembrance of the loved one is unique and personal to the individual’s life.
Vigil & Visitation
The Vigil is often the first time family, friends and community members gather for prayer and support, in remembrance of a treasured life. The service is held at a parish church or funeral home. Through prayer, scripture, song, and stories, the decreased is remembered and celebrated. It is a time to give strength to the grieving and faith to trust in the promise of eternal life.
The Funeral Mass is the principle celebration of the Catholic funeral, where family and friends join to reaffirm that life has not ended. It is the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, and is a reminder that we are one with Christ in life, death and Resurrection. The mass is celebrated in the Church with the body present. At this time family and friends give thanks and prepare to part with the deceased.
The Committal is the final service and time of interment. With a short invitation, scripture verse and prayer, family and friends are guided in the challenging process of letting go. Through the comfort and promise of everlasting life, the deceased are left in their peaceful resting place.
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