Preparing a Funeral
The time of death of someone who is close to us is a moment of sadness, tears and grief. It is also a time of faith, a moment to draw close to God through the Catholic community and the Catholic parish of Lockleys to accompany, support and pray with you.
We take to heart these words from the Order of Christian Funerals:
"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, no 4)
In preparing for and celebrating a Funeral Liturgy in the Parish of Lockleys, you might like to make use of this preparation sheet, Planning a Funeral in the Catholic Parish of Lockleys. This sheet will help in the immediate preparation for the Funeral Liturgy in our parish church.
The Funeral Liturgy in the parish church is one part of three for the full Catholic funeral rites. The three parts are:
1. A vigil service with either the body or cremated remains present. If the body is present, the casket may be either open or closed. It is a moment when family and friends gather around the body, with prayer and readings from Scripture. This is also a time when those who knew the deceased may offer their own thoughts and the person and their life. This is the most suitable occasion for eulogies.
Elements of the vigil service and what might be helpful to think about for the vigil may be accessed here. A member of the parish ministry team would be able to assist you with this.
2. A funeral Mass or Service with either the body or cremated remains present. If the body is not present, the service is referred to as a Memorial Mass.
For the Funeral Mass, readings from Scripture, Prayers of the Faithful, music, and a homily seek to express faith in the presence of God in the midst of death and the firm conviction that life does not end in death. If a eulogy is offered it will be after the final prayer after Communion, and brief (try to aim for 7-8 mins).
Preparing for the Funeral: Elements of the Funeral Mass and what might be helpful to think about for the Mass may be accessed here. You will find Scripture readings suitable for the Vigil and Funeral Mass here, and examples of Prayers of the Faithful (from a Dublin Catholic Parish) here, or you might like to check these out, too. Finally, you might appreciate a template of the Funeral Booklet, which might help if you are planning to produce one for those who attend to the Mass.
With all these aspects involved in preparing for the Funeral Liturgy, a member of the parish ministry team would be able to assist you with this.
3. A graveside committal service with burial of the body or cremated remains or the placing of the remains in a columbarium or mausoleum. The ceremony is usually shorter than the above, with a variety of selections for prayers available from the ritual. Again, if you wish to be involved in selecting the prayers and readings, a member of the ministry team would be able to assist you.
Finally, an overview of the purpose of each part of the Catholic funeral rites can be found here.
A Meditation on Those who have Died
“When we have genuinely loved someone we donate a part of ourselves to that other in a way that is beyond recall. And when they go from us they take that part of us with them. When they go from us in the permanence of death, they take that part of us permanently.
Where have they gone? They have gone to be with God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, not the God of the dead but of the living.
So the calm we eventually experience, when our necessary period of mourning is done, is not a sign that things are again as they were before, that cannot be. It is rather a sign that part of us lives now, already in eternity, with our loved living dead.”
Karl Rahner SJ, (1904-1984, German Priest and Theologian)
Encounters with Silence