Funeral arrangements are coordinated by your funeral director, who contacts the parish to schedule services for the wake/viewing, Mass of Christian Burial, or memorial service.
“We would have you be clear about those who sleep in death otherwise you might yield to grief, like those who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring forth with him from the dead those also who have fallen asleep believing in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18
The Wake Service
The community usually gathers the day before the funeral to pray and keep watch with the family. At the wake service, the Word of God is proclaimed as a source of hope in the face of darkness and death. All pray for the deceased, in anticipation of the funeral to be celebrated the next day as well as for the comfort and consolation of the family.
Family members and friends who wish to speak in remembrance of the deceased are encouraged to do so at the wake service.
The Funeral Mass
A celebration of the Eucharist (the Mass) with the body present is the ideal funeral liturgy. In the Eucharist, the Christian 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, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the paschal mystery – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In certain circumstances, the family may choose a funeral liturgy without a Mass – a Liturgy of the Word.
In accord with Archdiocesan policy, one speaker (a member or friend of the family) may speak for not more than five minutes in remembrance of the deceased at the beginning of the funeral liturgy (before the entrance hymn is sung). If a eulogy is offered, it should serve to reinforce our Christian faith and hope in the victory of Jesus over death.
Importance of the Body
The care taken to prepare the body of the deceased for burial reflects our Christian belief in eternal life and the resurrection of the body. The prayers and gestures of the funeral rites also affirm the Church’s reverence for the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. The long-standing practice of burying the body in a grave or tomb in memory of Jesus, whose own body was placed in a tomb, continues to be encouraged as a sign of Christian faith.
The Church accepts the practice of cremation as long as it is not chosen as a sign of rejection of the Church’s teaching regarding reverence for the human body and the resurrection of the dead. If cremation is chosen, it should take place following the funeral itself, which would be celebrated with the body present. In this way the community can honor the body and the bereaved are allowed the proper time to mourn. Death is the last passage of life and should not be hidden or negated by cremation prior to the funeral celebrations.
In particular circumstances it may be necessary for cremation to take place prior to the funeral. The funeral liturgy may then be celebrated with the ashes present.
The ashes are the body of the deceased in a changed form and we honor them as we honor the body. They should be reverently buried or entombed in a place reserved for the burial of the dead as soon after cremation as possible. It is not acceptable to put off this burial, to scatter the ashes, or to keep them in the home.