Because of our belief not only in the immortality of the soul, but also in the resurrection of the body, the Church professes hope in the face of death, and acts with charity in the funeral rites. The Church provides a number of prayers for the faithful to offer both to accompany the dying of a loved one and to strengthen our faith upon their death. Through private prayer and public funeral rites, we strengthen our faith and hope, comfort those who mourn, and bury the bodily remains of the deceased with care befitting what was the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (Taken from the USCCB)
Frequently Asked Questions
You may contact the church directly or have the funeral home you have chosen call us. Together we will coordinate the date, time, and location for the Mass or Liturgy outside of Mass. Completing the planning guide (see the documents) with readings, music, and other details, is helpful to do prior to your meeting with the pastoral associate or priest or to pre-plan the arrangements when your loved one or you are still alive and able to make those decisions. Our pastoral staff are happy to assist you with the several choices available for the funeral.
While the Church holds a preference for corporeal burial, cremation has become part of Catholic practice in the United States and the around the world. The Church’s reverence and care for the body grows out of a reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God. This is the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing. The human body is so inextricably associated with the human person that it is hard to think of a human person apart from his or her body.
The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites. For the funeral rites to be accomplished there are three options in order of preference:
the body present in a casket for the funeral Mass, then buried afterward
the body present in a casket for the funeral Mass, then cremated afterward with inurnment as soon as possible
cremated remains present for the funeral Mass, then inurned as soon as possible afterward
Cremated remains are to be treated with the same reverence as the body and should be inurned in a cemetery. They are not to be kept in one’s home, and never are they to be divided, scattered, or made into another object such as jewelry.
The funeral rites are meant to be accomplished in three parts: the vigil, the liturgy, and the committal. The vigil service occurs at the end of visiting hours at the funeral home the evening before the liturgy. It is a time for scripture, prayer, and reflection about the deceased – a beautiful ritual to close the evening and prepare for the funeral liturgy the next morning. Sometimes a rosary service is provided in addition or on its own.
The Mass of Christian Burial is the preferred liturgy. This may take place at the church or at a Catholic cemetery chapel. It contains the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Rite of Final Commendation. A Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may also be celebrated. This contains the Liturgy of the Word, prayers, and the Rite of Final Commendation. A priest or deacon may celebrate this liturgy. It can take place in church, at the funeral home, or cemetery chapel. Both should be followed by burial immediately after the liturgy. If the cremation is to happen after the liturgy, the inurnment should occur as soon as possible afterward.
If the body cannot be present due to donation to science or other extenuating circumstances, a memorial Mass can be held with the Rites of Final Commendation and Committal at a later time.
There are several choices available to make a funeral Mass personal and a testament to the deceased’s faith. We encourage you to choose your readings and music. The name of the deceased is throughout the liturgy in specific prayers and general intercessions.
We have compiled a list of suggested readings selected from the Order of Christian Funerals. Apart from the Easter season, one Old Testament Reading, one New Testament reading, and one Gospel is chosen (Easter is New Testament only). Family may choose someone to read the first and second readings. The general intercessions are read by the deacon or pastoral associate. Family may also choose 2-3 people to bring up the bread and wine during the preparation of the gifts.
Funeral music should be sacred and focused on the paschal mystery of Christ’s suffering, death, and triumph over death. Secular music is not permitted. Songs may be selected from the list of suggested music or, if not on the list, discussed with the music director. Cantors, musicians, and Resurrection Choir are provided through our music director. Family or friends wishing to participate need to be approved by and rehearse with the director.
This is sometimes one of the hardest to hear for families because other parishes may not follow the directives. The Order of Christian Funerals does not allow for a eulogy to take place within the celebration of the funeral liturgy: A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading; but there is never to be a eulogy. (OCF 27). The Church 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. This is accomplished in comforting prayers, rituals, and with a designed “flow” of the liturgy. Adding in a eulogy that may or may not be appropriate (oh the stories we could tell!) and emphasizing the human life rather than pointing to God can disrupt the purpose and benefit of the Mass. A spoken eulogy is best delivered at the visitation and vigil service the evening before or at the luncheon or gathering following the liturgy. Recently families have provided written eulogies or letters to inserted in the program. This is a keepsake that can go with those attending and be a lasting tribute.
Visitation at the Church
While most families choose to hold visitation hours at the funeral home the day/evening before the Mass, some choose an hour of visitation at church preceding the Mass. We are happy to accommodate this in our gathering space with an area for the casket and tables for photos or other mementos. Because we are not a funeral home, we are unable to provide music, videos, or refreshments. All visitation takes place in the gathering space and not in the sanctuary.
Celebration of Life Luncheon
As part of our ministry to serve families in this time of mourning and need, the parish can provide a luncheon following the burial (or if burial is later or out of town, immediately after the Mass) at no cost. The parish provides the main course (usually fried chicken or sandwiches), while our dedicated volunteers cook, bake, and serve the rest. Meals are currently held in Wellnitz Hall, a capacity of 75. Favorites of the deceased or family can be requested to add a special touch. Please note that there are circumstances that may prevent us from being able to offer a meal such as during holidays, scheduled events that cannot be moved, or having less than 2 days to plan.