Preparing for a Funeral

Roman Catholics have special prayers and rites for the dead. The traditional funeral includes:

  1. An optional vigil or “wake” service. This may take place in the church or at the funeral home.
  2. A service in the Church on the day of burial. This service normally includes the celebration of the Eucharist.

Cremation

Roman Catholics may be cremated, if they wish. (Diocesan Guidelines are available upon request.

Funeral Liturgy

The Funeral Liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. There are two forms of the Funeral Liturgy: the Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass. At the Funeral Liturgy 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.

Readings

We have available a book “Through Death to Life” which will be most helpful in your planning. It contains appropriate readings from which you may choose, as well as other suggestions for designing a meaningful and personal funeral service for your loved one.

Eulogy

The Order of Christian Funerals is very clear that “a brief homily” (not a “eulogy”) should be given at the funeral liturgy. This does not mean that the deceased cannot be spoken about in the homily, but that the Word of God must be primary. The homilist speaks the scriptural word to help the assembly understand how the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus was operative in the life and death of the deceased.

Before the liturgy commences or after the final prayer, a member of the family or a friend may speak in remembrance of the deceased (“eulogy”). This needs to be arranged with the presider when planning the funeral.

Only one or two persons may speak

The remembrance should be brief; (between 3 and 5 minutes).
The remembrance should be well prepared by the friend/family member ahead of time so that it is focused, and does not exceed 5 minutes. (A written text is highly recommended.) If possible, a copy of the remembrance is to be given to the presider in time to review it before the funeral liturgy.

The Order of Christian Funerals also permits speaking in remembrance of the deceased at the vigil for the Deceased. In fact, this is a better time to offer remembrances for the deceased than in the funeral Mass.

Music

Music is an essential component of the Funeral Liturgy. All music and musicians must be approved by our parish Music Director, Jennifer Michael. In addition to our parish organist/pianist and cantor, the music may be supplemented with other instruments and/or voices. These additional musicians must be approved by the All Hallows Music Director. All financial arrangements are handled directly through them.

Guest Book

There is a podium at the entrance of the church on which you may place a guest book. If you are having your reception at All Hallows, the guest book may be brought over to the Hall after the service.

Flowers

Flowers may be delivered to the church the day of the funeral. Because of limited space, some of the arrangements may be placed in the vestibule of the church. Flowers are never allowed to be placed directly on the altar.

Eucharistic Ministers

If a family member or friend is a trained Eucharistic Minister, you may ask them to participate in the liturgy as minister of the cup.

Pictures of the Deceased

Photographs of the deceased are permitted in the vestibule of the church.

Reception

If you would like to have a reception following the liturgy in our Parish Hall please check with the Parish Secretary for availability. We can assist you with a list of caterers who are familiar with our facilities.

Stipends

It is customary to make an offering to the church on the occasion of a funeral. This offering is for the on-going work of the parish and to cover expenses.

Additional fees and stipends associated with your funeral at All Hallows are paid directly to the following individuals (either in person or by mail):

Director of Music/Cantor, Jennifer Michael: $150
Organist/Pianist: $150
Altar Server (if required): $25 per server

A stipend for the priest or deacon is greatly appreciated.

For a helpful check list in planning a funeral, click here.