Funerals: Part 1 of the Series
Whenever one of us experiences the loss of a loved one, we are faced with having to make a lot of decisions concerning family issues, financial questions, sometimes legal and property management issues. In the midst of the tremendous sorrow we are also faced with trying to plan arrangements for the funeral. In our distress we turn to the Lord to look for comfort and place our trust in His Goodness and Love for us.
In order to try to make this process less stressful we will be presenting a series of articles to help spell out what goes into the preparation should the need arise.
The Church’s three part liturgy.
The Funeral Rites of the Church consist of the 1.) Vigil for the deceased, 2.) The Funeral Liturgy itself, and 3.) the Rite of Committal. Additionally the Office for the Dead, which we also refer to as the Liturgy of the hours, may also be prayed for the deceased person. The Church “ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the sacrament of the Eucharist. Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and Resurrection is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral. The Celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living. While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rites also recall to all who take part in them God’s mercy and judgment and meet the human need to turn always to God in times of Crisis.” (From the Order of Christian Funerals).
At the time of the death of a loved one.
If it so happens that there is some warning that your loved one is in danger of death, please don’t hesitate to call for a priest. It is a tremendous blessing to receive the Sacraments and be strengthened spiritually in preparation for death. But, even if the person dies suddenly it is a good practice to notify the parish priest who can come and pray with the family if possible.
In the days following.
Once a mortuary has been selected and meeting with the funeral director has been arranged, a call to the parish secretary is the best way to find out when the church building is available and when a priest or deacon is available for the funeral liturgy. Calling the parish from the mortuary with the director present is a good way to establish the day and hour for the funeral. While speaking with the secretary, an appointment to see the priest to plan the funeral liturgy should also be arranged.
Funerals: Part 2 of the Series will be in next week’s bulletin.