Funerals & Preparations
Preparing for Death, Anointing of the Sick (Last Rites)
The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, after having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age (Canon 1004).
Canons 998 & 1004 can be summarized as follows. Those who satisfy three conditions may be anointed:
A baptized Catholic
Reached the age of reason
Begun to be in danger from illness or the infirmities of age, or have become sick again or underwent a further crisis. It should be noted that the danger need only have begun to exist. The person does not have to be "in extremis" (in imminent danger of dying).
Effect of the celebration of this sacrament:
A particular gift of the Holy Spirit... strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. this grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation of discouragement and anguish in the face of death. This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God's will. Furthermore, if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven (CCC 1520).
For further effects of this powerful sacrament, please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 1521-1523.
To arrange for you or your loved one to receive this sacrament please contact the parish office.
Planning the Funeral Liturgy
The clergy or pastoral ministries of the parish must be consulted before any liturgical arrangements are made with the funeral director. This provides the opportunity to have a clear understanding of the meaning and significance of the rites as well as for family members to participation the rites themselves.
Family members are encouraged to look over our set of readings (provided at the bottom of this page) to make suitable choices for the funeral liturgy. Family members or friends may be chosen to read the selections at the Wake Service and/or Funeral Mass. The reader chosen should be a Catholic familiar with the liturgy.
Family members should speak with the priest, deacon, and/or music director at the parish to discuss appropriate music for the Funeral Mass. The Funeral Mass is a sacred moment to honor, remember, and pray for the deceased. Secular music during the liturgy is not appropriate. At other gatherings of family and friends (i.e., following the Wake Service, Reception following the Rite of Committal), secular music may be played to remember the deceased.
Again, in keeping with the sacred nature of the Funeral Liturgy, it is not recommended that eulogies take place during the Mass. Given the secular nature of many of the stories shared during eulogies, the setting of the Mass is not the recommended or appropriate place. Eulogies are recommended at the Wake Service, the Rite of Committal, and the Reception or Gathering of family and friends following the Rite of Committal.
Praying for the Deceased
Given the transient nature of modern society, it is often difficult to assemble all of the family and friends of the deceased in a timely manner. The custom has arisen by which a private and simple burial precedes a formal gathering of family and friends at a Memorial Mass to remember the deceased. If a Memorial Mass is celebrated, the same care and diligence in selecting the music and readings should be practiced to maintain the sacredness of the Mass. Please discuss the restrictions in the Church's Liturgical Calendar with the priest before planning a Memorial Mass.
Our Catholic tradition offers the opportunity to have multiple masses offered for the soul of the deceased loved one. please contact the parish office to have Mass offered on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. of your beloved deceased.
From Holy Scripture
"... for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to. pray for the dead. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus, he made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sins" (2 Macc. 12:44-46).
Funerals Rites of the Church
1. Vigil Service
At the Vigil Service, usually conducted in the funeral home on the eve of the Funeral Mass, the faithful keep watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and find strength in Christ's presence. The Vigil is a scripture or Evening Prayer Service (Liturgy of the Hours, Office of the Dead). The Rosary, or part of the Rosary, may be prayed as well, but not as a replacement of the Vigil.
2. Funeral Mass
The tradition of the Church has always been the celebration of the Mass with the body present. Christians respect and honor the body of the dead, which in Baptism became the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Funeral Mass includes the reception of the body, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Final Commendation and Farewell. We are reminded of Christ's own words, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall live forever" (Jn. 6:55).
3. Rite of Committal
For the final disposition of the body, it is the ancient christian custom to bury or entomb the bodies of the dead in a cemetery, which means a "resting place". The Rite of Committal is the conclusion of the funeral rites, and may be celebrated beside the open grave or place of interment. The faithful express the hope that, with all those who have gone before marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection and passes into the welcoming company of those who see God face to face.