Upon the death of a loved one, families are asked to contact their parish as soon as possible before any arrangements are made with a mortuary for liturgical services. Once the times for the various services are arranged with the parish, the family (or representatives) of the deceased is to meet with the parish representative to plan the services.
The funeral ritual is made up of three principal parts:
- Vigil for the Deceased
- Funeral Liturgy
- Rite of Committal
It is strongly encouraged that the Funeral Rites be conducted in the presence of the body of the deceased. This practice is most in accord with the sacred principles and rituals of the Christian Faith. “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation” (CCC #1176); although care should be taken that the cremated remains of the deceased are accorded proper burial.
Although the vigil is recommended as a principal rite before the funeral liturgy, other forms of prayer (e.g. the Rosary) are allowed. If a liturgical vigil is celebrated, the usual minister is a deacon. The vigil is normally celebrated at the mortuary chapel, but may also be held in the church. The Vigil service is the most appropriate time for a eulogy, sharing of stories, etc., as opposed to during the Mass of Christian Burial.
Parishioners can also plan their own funeral liturgies in advance by contacting the rectory office.