Diocese of Providence
Riverside, Rhode Island, USA
your hands, Father of mercies, we commend our loved ones,
in the sure and certain hope that, together
with all who have died in Christ,
they will rise with him on the last day."
Dear Friends in Christ:
The St. Brendan community extends its prayers and
condolences on the loss of your loved one. The death of a family member
can leave us feeling at a loss or empty. Grief can place a great burden
on us, making the necessary arrangements seem even greater. Some of
these arrangements include the planning of the funeral Mass. As your
loved one is entitle by his or her baptism to a Mass of Christian
Burial, the perfect prayer of our Church, we thank you for offering
this mass for them.
As Christians, we celebrate the Christian funeral to
offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life
which has now returned to God. The celebration of the funeral rites is
a way to remind us of God’s mercy and to bring hope and
consolation in a time of crisis.
In the hope of lightening the task of planning a
funeral liturgy, this planning guide has been put together to coincide
with the parish planning sheet and the resources of the parish.
Obviously the family is invited meet with a parish priest to assist
with plans for the funeral Mass. We hope these materials will enable
you to plan a liturgy which actively involves those gathered in prayer
and grief to give praise to God.
We realize that family members of the deceased are
more or less comfortable with the planning and participation of
liturgies, especially during such a difficult time. Please feel free to
do as much or as little according to your personal comfort level. If
you do not wish to participate in the selection of music or family
members offering the readings at mass, please let us know. We will
gladly have others assist from the parish with these roles.
On behalf of the pastoral staff and parishioners of
St. Brendan Parish, may the peace and consolation of Christ be yours.
Again, please contact one of your parish priest for
assistance an an appointment to help with your planning.
The Order of
Catholic funeral rites are
celebrated in three stages--the vigil service, as part of the
visitation; the Funeral Mass; and the committal service at the
graveside or mausoleum. Each section is an important part of the
funeral liturgy of the Catholic Church.
The Vigil most often
takes places at a funeral home
and normally consists of a Scripture Service comprised of readings,
reflections, and prayers. The vigil service is the appropriate time to
share stories and eulogies about the deceased. It may be possible to
incorporate favorite music, whether sacred or secular. Discuss these
options with our chosen Funeral Director
After completing this
sheet. Feel free to email the
completed information to the church (StBrendan@cox.net)
or ask your funeral director to fax it to us. At the very least, please
give it to Father when he attends during the vigil visiting hours.
Suggested Readings: The following link will show
suggested readings or the Liturgy. [Suggested
Readings from which to choose] If you have
other sacred scripture
passages from the New American Bible you wish to offer, discuss them
with Father. In most cases, other scripture readings than those
suggested herein may be used. No secular readings (Poems, short
stories, etc.) are permitted at funeral liturgies.
Readers you choose should come prepared and should
bring a copy
of their readings with them to the funeral mass. They will sit with
their families and will be invited forward by the priest when they are
to proclaim the readings. You may choose one, two or three readers to
proclaim the readings and the prayers at mass. - one person for the Old
Testament reading, one for the New Testament reading and third for the
prayer of the faithful. (Prayer of the
Faithful) Or optionally, the same person
may proclaim multiple readings. It is strongly suggested that the
The psalm response is usually sung and chosen by the
organist and the Gospel chosen by the priest. If have suggestions in
these areas please feel free to make them.
Most often, the
committal service takes place
immediately after the Mass. (This may not be true when burial is to
take place in another city, or if the body is to be cremated after the
Selections: The St.
Brendan's Parish Funeral Mass Planning and Hymn Selection Sheet
has a list with the most popular song selections. Others
songs may also be appropriate. If you have other suggestions
us know. Secular or popular culture msic is never appropriate at the Funeral Liturgy (see below)
Use of Pre-Recorded
The playing of
pre-recorded music (CD’s, tapes,
DVD’s etc.) may take place during the visitation, at the Vigil,
or at the Committal Service. Pre-recorded music is not permitted during
Use of Secular or
Secular or popular
music can sometimes be meaningful,
and may be included at the Vigil or during the Committal Service. It
may not be included at the Funeral Mass. Here's a good article explaining further.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1688)
as well as the
Catholic Rite of Christian Funerals cautions against personal
eulogies at a funeral Mass. The rite reads, “A brief
homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading
at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the
vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy.”
liturgical guidlines: Order of Christian Funerals, # 141: According to the most
for the celebration of mass and the Funeral Rites of the Church, the
appropriate place and time for eulogies is the Vigil service, which is
normally held at the funeral home, the evening prior to the Funeral.
They may also be given at the cemetery or perhaps following at the
post-funeral gathering. However, please feel free to send some words of
remembrance to the priest who will be celebrating the funeral mass. (StBrendan@cox.net) It is
appropriate that he incorporate some personal information about the
deceased in his homily at the mass.
The custom of the eulogy comes in part from
Protestant funeral services that may not have the rich ritual and
prayers that are ours. Nevertheless, for pastoral and
personal reasons, some Catholic pastors have caused
confusion by allowing eulogies to become customary in
some places, inviting words of persoanl remembrance by family or
friends to be said at a Catholic
liturgy with varying liturgucal or theological content.
Thank you for your understanding that the primary focus of a funeral
liturgy, like all Masses, is about Jesus Christ, the Resurrection, the
God's Loving Mercy on all of us, sinners - the promise for those who
have died in his Grace.
If there will be
military honors taking place at the
cemetery, your funeral director will assist with necessary
If the casket comes to the church draped in a flag,
the flag is removed before the liturgy begins and then put back on the
coffin after the pall has been removed at the end of the liturgy.
Offering the Bread and Wine at Mass
Additionally, two or
as many as four family members
may be asked to offer the bread and wine at mass, which will become the
Eucharist the body and blood of our Lord. These participants should be
Catholic as this presentation is a rich symbol of the gifts of the
people being offered for the sacrament of the Church.
We know that on short
notice or other reasons some
family members and friends who wish to join you for the funeral are
unable to do so. As a special service we have added a streaming web-cam
in the church for just such occasions. Please let family and friends
know that they may be able to join the liturgy via the internet. They
may access the camera from our parish web-page. www.stbren.com