Helping You With Funeral Arrangements
Death is a passage from this life to the new life promised by Christ. This passage is to be experienced in the light of the Resurrection. In faith, we believe that one day we will all be gathered together by God, the Father, to live with Him eternally.
When a Loved One Dies
At the time of death, please contact the presbytery (03) 304-7983. This is so that we may pray with you for the family and the deceased. We will work with you and the funeral home to plan the services and schedule the priest. It is also helpful if you provide us with the names of the surviving spouse and next of kin so that we may share information about the family and funeral services with the parish through our Sunday newsletter.
Preparing for a funeral in advance
When a person is terminally ill or in failing health, much can be gained for the person and the family by preparing for the funeral in advance. The priest can visit the person to offer prayerful support. He can anoint the dying with the Holy Oils and help plan the funeral both with the person and the family.
Support from the Church:
– The priest meets with the immediate family to minister to them and to help them prepare the funeral liturgy.
– A vigil (prayer service) may be celebrated by the community the evening before the main funeral celebration.
– The main funeral liturgy is celebrated in the parish church.
– Prayers of committal take place at the cemetery.
– If required, the parish priest will lead the funeral liturgy at the Funeral Chapel, the Crematorium or at the graveside.
– In particular circumstances, it may be necessary for cremation to take place prior to the funeral. This liturgy may then be celebrated with the ashes present.
Readings for a Funeral Liturgy
At this American Jesuit website www.creighton.edu you will find under the heading ‘Readings for a Funeral Liturgy’ a very useful 18 page resource of Bible readings that are suitable for a funeral.
The Vigil or the Rosary
If it is desired, a Vigil can be held on the eve of the funeral. This can take the form of the Prayers for the Dead and / or the Rosary.
The community gathers the evening before the main funeral liturgy to pray and to keep watch with the family. The Word of God is proclaimed as 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. Prayers are also offered for the comfort and consolation of the bereaved. This prayer service may take place at the funeral home or at the church. The Vigil can also be an opportunity for a eulogy.
The Main Funeral Liturgy
A Requiem Mass is a celebration of the Eucharist with the body present and is the ideal funeral liturgy. In the Eucharist 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, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the paschal mystery – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For valid reasons the family may choose a funeral liturgy without a mass – a Liturgy of the Word. This decision should be made in consultation with the Priest.
For the Requiem Mass or Liturgy, Christian symbols, a cross, bible, rosary, scapular, prayer book, etc, may be placed on the casket at the beginning of the Funeral Mass or Liturgy. Secular items, like a photograph of the deceased, flags or medals of honour may also be placed on the casket.
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 practice of cremation is accepted by the Church as long as the reasons for choosing cremation are not contrary to the Christian way of life. In most cases cremation should take place following the funeral liturgies. These celebrations should take place with the body present. In this way the body can be honoured by the community, 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. This liturgy may then be celebrated with the ashes present.
The ashes are the body of the deceased in a changed form. We honour them as we honour the body. They must 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.
If for some reason the body or the ashes have been buried before the funeral, a commemorative Eucharist or liturgy of the word may be celebrated.
Preparing Your Funeral in Advance
You are encouraged to think about your own funeral. With respect for the Church’s teaching, outlined above and in dialogue with your family, you may want to leave directions as to how you wish your funeral to be celebrated.
St Patrick’s does not have facilities for socializing after a funeral but there are places quite close by that can be used. The parish priest will be pleased to advise.
Grieving and overcoming loss
The community is wants to support those who are grieving and facing the loss of a loved one.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
– James 5:14