For all Christians, the Church’s funeral rites are essential to the life of faith, hope, and charity to which God the Father calls us. These rites are about salvation, and our own sharing in the communion of Jesus Christ in his dying and rising. The faithful celebration of the Church’s funeral rites greatly benefits us spiritually and consoles us in sorrow.
DIRECTIVES FOR CATHOLIC FUNERAL PLANNING:
AT TIME OF DEATH WHOM DO WE CALL:
If a person dies unexpectedly at home, the local Public safety department must be called first.
If a person is under hospice care, the hospice nurse should be called first and they will help you with the subsequent procedures.
Funeral directors specialize in serving the needs of families at the time of death and will also assist in the notification of the pertinent people or agencies.
Usually the Funeral director will call the local parish after the family has made arrangements with them to set the day and time of the funeral Mass.
The family will call the local parish to set a time to come in to choose the readings, and music for the preparation of the funeral Mass.
CATHOLIC FUNERAL RITES:
The Vigil for the Deceased takes place at the funeral home the evening before and is the official prayer of the church and should never be omitted. Taking the form of the liturgy of the Word, the Vigil consists of Scripture readings, a brief homily or reflection , intercessions and prayers. This is also is the appropriate time for family members and friends to offer their own reflections (eulogy).
THE FUNERAL LITURGY:
At the funeral liturgy or Mass the community gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion of the paschal mystery.
THE RITE OF COMMITTAL (CEMETERY PRAYERS):
Brings to conclusion the funeral rites at the grave, tomb, or crematorium. These brief prayers may be led by a priest, deacon, or a lay minister.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FUNERAL MASS AND MEMORIAL MASS:
A funeral Mass has the body of the deceased or the cremated remains of the deceased present and has all the special prayers attributed to the Mass . When the body or cremated remains are not present it is called a Memorial Mass.