WHAT IS A CATHOLIC FUNERAL?
This life is short, and the life to come is eternal. When a Catholic Christian departs this world for eternity, the Church commends him or her to the love and mercy of God. The Funeral is a time to remember the deceased and to give thanks to God for the gift of his or her life. Even more so, it is a very privileged and sacred time to pray for the deceased, asking God to grant them a merciful judgment, and to grant peace and consolation to their family and friends.
FUNERAL MASS OR FUNERAL LITURGY?
Most families will choose to have a Funeral Mass offered for the soul of deceased. The Mass is the central and most powerful prayer of our Catholic faith, and so it is the most fitting way that we can pray for our departed loved ones. There are circumstances, however, in which it may be more appropriate to have the Funeral rites conducted outside of Mass (whether in the church or at the funeral home or graveside) based on who plans to attend. In such cases, one of the regularly scheduled parish Masses can be offered at a later time in memory of the deceased as a means of praying for that person. Cathedral staff can be helpful in answering any questions about choosing one form or the other of the funeral liturgy.
PLANNING FOR THE FUNERAL:
The family of the deceased is welcome and encouraged to actively participate in planning the Funeral Rites. Members of the parish staff, together with the priest celebrant, will assist the family in choosing appropriate Scripture readings and readers, and the appropriate music, so that the Funeral Mass itself can be a truly prayerful and beautiful opportunity to pray for the deceased, as the Church commends him or her to the love and mercy of God. Normally some designated members of the family will arrange an appointment with the priest or member of the parish staff before the funeral to finalize these details and to discuss briefly any other details regarding the liturgy. These planning details can also be conducted via phone.
READINGS AND READERS
The “Funeral Planning” tab on the Cathedral website has links for viewing the various choices for Funeral Readings. One (1) First Reading and one (1) Second Reading should be selected. The Gospel will be chosen by the priest celebrant.
Some designated family members or friends of the deceased may choose to participate in the Liturgy by proclaiming the Readings and the Prayers of the Faithful. It is not a requirement for the family to find such volunteers as a reader from our Cathedral parish can be appointed to this role.
If chosen, the selected readers should be:
practicing Catholics in good standing with the Church,
appropriately and modestly dressed,
and able to proclaim the readings clearly and calmly, as is appropriate for the liturgy