Aspects Of A Catholic Funeral
The two main goals of a Catholic funeral service are respect for the deceased and comfort for the bereaved. Attention is given to the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, giving Catholics hope.
Aspects Of A Catholic Funeral
What occurs at a Catholic funeral is dependent on the type of service. These are the main aspects:
1. The Final Rites
For a devout Catholic, calling a priest to administer the last rites is an absolute need in the final hours of life. The final rites are a series of sacraments performed at the end of life. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and the Sacrament of the Viaticum are some examples of these rites.
2. The Vigil
The Vigil is very much like a wake or a viewing. Those who knew the departed soul meet in a place of worship, the funeral home, or even the house of family members to say farewells and offer final prayers. The Vigil is a service held the evening before the Funeral Mass, and it consists of a series of prayers conducted by a priest, deacon, or knowledgeable layperson. It’s a moment to honour the departed, which often includes speeches and eulogies.
3. Catholic Funeral Mass/ Memorial Mass
Catholic funerals typically occur at a Catholic church, where a Funeral Mass (or a Memorial Mass if nobody is present) is celebrated. Before the Mass begins, the remains are covered with a pall and sprinkled with holy water at the church’s front door. Once the casket and the funeral procession reached the front of the church, specific items, such as an open Bible and crucifix, are traditionally put on the casket.
Family and friends are welcome to participate in a Catholic funeral mass by reciting passages from the Bible. However, eulogies and funeral speeches are not customary. Even more non-traditional components, such as eulogies, special live music, and even more modern music, may be allowed in some churches.
4. Dates On Which You Can’t Conduct a Catholic Funeral Mass
You cannot conduct Catholic Funeral Masses on these holy days:
- Good Friday
- Holy Thursday
- Holy Saturday
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Season
Due to the time involved in some of these holy days (up to 50 days in some situations), a Catholic funeral ceremony may be held without a Mass. The Rite of Committal and the funeral liturgy are held separately from the Mass. After the end of the mourning period, a Catholic Memorial Mass can be held in honour of the departed.
5. Organ Donation in the Catholic Church
Donation of organs is permitted and even endorsed by the Catholic Church. This is what the Catechism states: Donating an organ after death is a selfless and admirable gesture that should be promoted, and organ donation can save the life of another.
Under Catholic doctrine, embalming is not a concern. If the funeral is postponed and the deceased’s body will be present during the vigil, the family may decide to embalm/partially embalm the body to better preserve and show their loved one.
7. Views on Cremation in Catholicism
The Catholic Church has historically frowned upon the practice of cremation. Almost all Christians are opposed to cremation because they think that on the Day of Judgment, all deceased people will be resurrected and their souls reunited with their bodies. Therefore, there is nothing left from a burnt body that can be united with the soul.
These days, Catholics are free to choose cremation if they so want. The majority of Catholic priests believe that the cremated ashes should be buried rather than spread and that the deceased’s mortal remains should be present during the Catholic Funeral Mass.
8. Rite of Committal
At the Rite of Committal, loving ones can say their final goodbyes to the deceased. It is held at a Catholic cemetery and entails prayers expressing the wish that the departed will be reunited with loved ones in Heaven.
The priest will bless the grave where the body is to be buried during the Rite of Committal process. The ceremony will often close with everyone present praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Well-Organised Catholic Funeral Services
Knowing what to do next after the death of a loved one can significantly ease the burden of loss. Our funeral director understands that this is a difficult time of transition and will do their best to make the planning process as simple as possible.
Paul Lahood serves a sizable Catholic clientele and is well-equipped to assist you in arranging a respectful Catholic burial for your dearly gone loved one.