May angels lead you into paradise;
May the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.
Praying for the dead is a spiritual act of mercy. When a Christian dies, the community gathers for a funeral. This is a celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection and so of the promise of salvation to the deceased person. During the funeral liturgy, family and friends bid farewell to the person who has died and entrust that person to God’s loving care in trust and hope. They also praise and thank God for the gift of a life which has been returned to its Creator. They remember with joy and pain what that person has meant to them and they honour their body which has been a temple not only of the peron’s soul but also the Holy Spirit.
Catholic funeral rites may include:
Vigil for the Deceased
The Vigil may be quite informal, where the family and friends of the deceased person pray in the presence of the body in the home, in the chapel of the Funeral Directors, or in the parish church on the night before the Funeral Liturgy. The Vigil would include prayers and readings and an opportunity for a relative or friend of the deceased person to give some “words of remembrance” of the one who has died.
The Funeral Liturgy is the central liturgical celebration. It is usually celebrated in the church, and may be a Mass with the final commendation, or a Liturgy of the Word followed by prayers and a final commendation. The funeral liturgy is held whenever it is appropriate for family and friends to gather.
The Rite of Committal
This is the final act of care for the deceased person. It may be held at the cemetery or in the crematorium chapel. This Rite may also be used for burial at sea. The Rite of Committal (burial or cremation) usually follows the funeral liturgy. Because they have been a temple of the Holy Spirit and were created by God, the person’s remains, including when they are cremated, must be interred in an appropriate place such a cemetery or columbarium.
Who do we contact?
At the appropriate time, after a person dies, the funeral directors are contacted. They will then contact the local parish priest to begin making arrangements for the funeral. Your local parish office will have resources to assist with the preparation of the funeral liturgy.
Funeral Policy click here