We encourage the family of the deceased to take an active role in planning the elements of the Mass. You will receive a booklet containing the various Scripture readings, prayers, and intercessions used in a funeral Mass. Please take some time to read through it, and choose those elements you feel would be the most appropriate for the occasion. You may list your selections on the form included with the booklet. The comfort minister will help you with your selections and inform the rectory staff of them for you.
We request that you choose: an Opening Prayer (see pp. 18-38); an Old Testament reading (pp. 40-46); a Responsorial Psalm (pp. 47-56); a New Testament reading (pp. 56-67); a Gospel (pp. 70-85); and a set of General Intercessions (pp. 86-104).
Capable family members or friends are invited to proclaim the Old and New Testament readings and General Intercessions. The Psalm is led by a Cantor (see Music Guidelines below). A deacon or priest reads the Gospel. Scripture readings are proclaimed from the Lectionary (the Church’s official collection of readings from the Bible), not from pages torn out of a book or photocopies. One of the comfort ministers will assist the readers in locating their reading in the Lectionary. Therefore, it would be helpful if your readers arrive at least 10 minutes before the funeral liturgy begins. If you opt not to choose readers for the liturgy, the comfort ministers are happy to proclaim the readings on your behalf.
At the beginning of the Mass, when the body of the deceased is greeted at the door of the Church, the casket is sprinkled with holy water and a large white cloth called a pall is draped over it. These actions are reminders of baptism (the pall, reminiscent of the white clothing worn by the newly baptized); for it is by baptism that your loved one shares in Christ’s victory over sin and death. Family members or friends are invited to place the pall over the casket. If none feel capable, the funeral director will fulfill this ritual.
A family member or friend may also place either a cross, Bible or Gospel Book on the casket after the pall has been draped over it, as a sign that your loved one was, indeed, a follower of Christ.
NB If the body of your loved one is cremated prior to the funeral liturgy, the urn containing the remains may be brought into the Church by a family member or friend, or they may be positioned in a place of honor near the Sanctuary before Mass begins. In either case, the pall is not used.
Two or three family members or friends of the deceased are also invited to bring forward the gifts of bread and wine, which will become the Body and Blood of Christ. Please note that there is no presentation of symbolic gifts at this time. If there are any special momentos of your loved one you would like to have displayed, we will be happy to arrange them in an appropriate manner for you.
A family member or friend of the deceased may offer a eulogy following the Communion rite. Please inform the comfort minister who will deliver it. The priest will invite the person forward at the appropriate time. We ask that there be only one eulogy delivered at this time. If other persons desire to offer some words, you might consider having them delivered during the viewing or at the graveside.