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 instead of a vigil.
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.
Finally, a graveside service consisting of the Rites of Commendation and Committal can also be celebrated if there are circumstances preventing a full liturgical celebration.
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 later.