Guide for Catholic FuneralsPastoral Center24 Washington St., Augusta, ME 04330(207) 623-8823 Fax (207) 623-7574www.stmichaelmaine.orgEmail: [email protected]
2Dear Friends in Christ,On behalf of St. Michael Parish Family, please accept our heartfeltprayers and sympathy as you remember and celebrate the life of yourloved one. Please know that our Pastoral Staff is ready to assist you inpreparing for and celebrating a Funeral Liturgy. In the Catholic Church,there are two forms – a Funeral Mass or a Funeral Service (Ceremonywithout Mass).As you work with your Funeral Director, you may find the followinginformation helpful. Your Funeral Director will make arrangements withus regarding the place and time of the celebration. You may have theFuneral scheduled at any one of our churches. Normally, Funerals arescheduled for 9am or 11am. We would ask that you give this seriousconsideration, as our schedule could at times need to allow more thanone funeral on a given day.The celebrant who will preside at the Funeral will contact you and willtry to set up a time to meet with you and other family members to planthe Funeral, particularly in choosing the Scripture readings. Please knowthat we encourage members of the family to consider being involved inthe liturgy, so we will ask if you have some members of the family toassist with the following: one or two people willing to proclaim theScripture readings (if not, we will provide a Lector to read); two peopleto bring up the offertory gifts (if you have a Mass); and also if there is aperson who will be sharing Words of Remembrance.The Funeral Director will also contact the Musician and Cantor for theservice. You may contact them to discuss the liturgical hymns for thefuneral. The fee for the musicians will be shared with you by yourFuneral Director.The fee for the Church is 135 and is paid directly to St. Michael Parishby the funeral home. There is no fee for the clergy presiding at theFuneral.You and your deceased loved one will be remembered in our prayers inthe coming days and at our weekend Masses. In the past, you have lovedothers, comforted them, and shared their losses. During the hours anddays ahead, it will be your turn, your time, to be loved, to be comforted,and to let others share your grief.May the God of Hope give you the fullness of peace, and may the Lordof Life always be with you!With our prayers and sympathy in the Risen Lord,The Clergy and Staff of St. Michael Parish
3Celebration of the Funeral LiturgyThe Order of Christian Funerals is celebrated in three stations: the Vigilfor the Deceased, the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal.The Vigil for the Deceased at the Funeral HomeAs its name implies, the Vigil is generally celebrated the night beforethe Funeral. The Vigil service is typically brief, consisting of anOpening Prayer, a proclamation of Sacred Scripture, and intercessionsfor the deceased. Sacred music may also be a part of this service. Ifsecular music or a eulogy is requested, these take place after thecompletion of the Vigil Rite.The Funeral in the ChurchAt the Funeral Liturgy the community gathers with the family andfriends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’svictory over sin and death and to commend the deceased to God’stender mercy and compassion.The funeral may take place in the context of Mass, or during a Liturgyof the Word that is not Mass. The church is the place where thecommunity of faith gathers for worship. Therefore, it is best that thefuneral rites take place in the church.In the act of bringing the body to the church, the members of thecommunity acknowledge the deceased as one of their own, as one whowas welcomed in Baptism and who held a place in the assembly.Through the use of various baptismal symbols we show the reverencedue the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.Any national flags or insignia of associations to which the deceasedbelonged are to be removed from the casket at the entrance of thechurch. Then the baptismal symbols and gestures become evident.The Paschal Candle is lit and placed at the front of the church near thecasket or urn. The candle reminds us of the light of Christ, entrusted tous at our Baptism.Sprinkling the body with Holy Water recalls the pouring of water in thebaptismal celebration to wash away our sin.Placing the pall over the casket recalls the “white garment” we weregiven at Baptism as a sign of putting on a new life in Christ.Later, the body of the deceased is incensed as a sign of respect for thebody as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
4The Rite of Committal at the CemeteryIn committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses thehope that, with “all those who have gone before us marked with the signof faith”, the deceased awaits the glory of the Resurrection. The Rite ofCommittal is the final act of the community of faith in caring for thebody of the deceased. It may be celebrated at the grave, tomb, ormausoleum.This Rite includes prayers offered for blessing of the ground, dispositionof the body and for the consolation of those gathered. If military honorsare offered, they are done following the completion of the Rite.Sacred Scripture in the Funeral RitesAt the Vigil, Funeral Liturgy, and Rite of Committal, scriptural passagesare read. The Catholic Church does not permit substituting other sourcesof literature for these readings. Poetry or excerpts from literature areappropriately read at the funeral home following the Vigil or at a latertime when the family is gathered.If the family desires to select readings, they may choose from Scripturereadings listed within this booklet.Flowers in the ChurchCasket sprays are removed before the casket is brought into the church.They may be replaced at the end of the funeral. Flowers may be broughtfrom the funeral home or sent directly to the church. They will be placedso as not to obscure the altar, pulpit, tabernacle, or block passage ofministers in the sanctuary. Very few flowers should be brought into thechurch during Lent.When the church is decorated for Christmas or Easter, other flowers mayseem redundant. You may wish not to bring them to the church duringthese times.Scheduling a Funeral MassFuneral Masses are NOT permitted on: Sundays at any time Saturdays after 1pm Holy Days of Obligation Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy SaturdayFuneral services apart from Mass can be scheduled on most days of theyear.
5Other Liturgical ConsiderationsPlacing of the Pall: A funer al pall, r eminding us of the whitegarment given at Baptism and therefore symbolizing our life in Christ,is draped over the casket at the beginning of the Funeral Mass. Familymembers or friends are welcome to do this, though it may also be doneby pall bearers at the direction of the Funeral Director.Presentation of Offertory Gifts: Two family member s or fr iendswho are Catholics in good standing may bring forward the bread andwine at the Offertory Procession during the funeral Mass.Holy Communion: Catholics in the state of gr ace ar e encour aged toreceive Communion. Others may come forward for a blessing,indicating their desire to do so by crossing their arms across their chest.Catholics do not practice inter-communion with the members of otherChristian communities.The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Those who ar e alienated fr om theChurch, from God, or from family members or friends, may wish tobecome reconciled. The priest will be happy to make the Sacrament ofReconciliation available to those who request it. If possible, pleasecontact him before the funeral liturgy.Music for the Funeral Rites: Music in the Funer al Rites allows thecommunity to express its convictions and feelings that words alone mayfail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift mourners and tostrengthen the unity of the assembly.If they so desire, the family may request a liturgical song to be includedin the Funeral Rites. Final approval of this song rests with the musicdirector. Secular, national, or ethnic songs are not permitted during theFuneral. Their proper place is after the Vigil service or at a familycelebration.The following Hymns are suitable selections to help you choose musicfor the Funeral Liturgy. Please ask the Funeral Director if you have anyspecific requests and they will try to accommodate your requests. TheFuneral Director should inform the musicians of your choices prior tothe funeral.Amazing Grace — Ave Maria (Bach, or Schubert)Be Not Afraid — Eagles Wings — How Great Thou ArtPrayer of St. Francis — I Am the Bread of LifePanis Angelicus — J’irai La Voir Un Jour
6Cremation in the Catholic Funeral RiteThe Church prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be presentfor the funeral rites. The long-standing practice of burying the body in agrave or tomb in imitation of the burial of Jesus’ body is encouraged as asign of our Christian faith. When the choice has been made to cremate abody, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the Funeral.The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respectgiven to the human body from which they came. This includes the use ofa worthy vessel to contain the cremains, the manner in which they arecarried, and the final disposition.The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in amausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremains isnot the reverent disposition the Church requires.If cremated remains are brought to the church for the Funeral Rite, asmall table or stand is prepared at the place normally occupied by thecasket. The vessel may be carried to its place during the entranceprocession or may be placed on the table or stand before the liturgybegins. It is also customary to have a small vase of flowers and an8 1/2” x 11” framed image on the table near the cremains.Words of RemembranceWords of Remembrance, briefly describing the ways in which thedeceased demonstrated his or her Christian values, are sometimes offeredat the Funeral celebration. If they choose, the family is asked to selectonly ONE person and they are asked to be brief. No more than two pagesor 5 minutes are permitted. Please speak with the pr iest or deaconabout offering words of remembrance.
7Funeral Planning WorksheetIn order to assist you in planning the funeral liturgy please fill out thefollowing worksheet and share this information with the Funeral Directorand Priest.Pages 8-14 contain two sections of Scriptures readings. Section A arereadings from the Old Testament and Section B are readings from theNew Testament. Please choose one reading from each section and fill inwhich reading you would like as well as who will be proclaiming thereading at the funeral Mass.Pall: (2-4 people):Placing of Christian Symbols:Cross: 1 personBible: 1 person1st Reading: One fr om section A2nd Reading: One fr om section BGeneral Intercessions: 1 per sonsee page 15Offertory Gifts: 2 peopleWords of Remembrance: 1 per sonMusic Selection: (see page 5 or ask your Funer al Dir ector )Processional:Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23 – Good ShepherdOffertory:Communion:Song of Farewell: Saints of GodRecessional:
8Readings from the Old TestamentA-1 — Job 19:1, 23-27aA reading from the Book of JobJob answered Bildad the Shuhite and said: Oh, would that my words werewritten down! Would that they were inscribed in a record:That with an iron chisel and with lead they were cut in the rock forever!But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last standforth upon the dust;The Word of the Lord.A-2 — Wisdom 3:1-6A reading from the Book of WisdomThe souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing awaywas thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.But they are in peace. For if before men, indeed they be punished,yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatlyblessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold inthe furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them tohimself. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shallabide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, andhis care is with his elect.The Word of the Lord.A-3 — Isaiah 25:6, 7-9A reading from the Book of the Prophet IsaiahOn this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for allpeoples. On thismountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is wovenover all nations; he will destroy death forever.The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of hispeople he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.On that day it will be said:"Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!This is the LORD for whom we looked;let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"The Word of the Lord.
9A-4 Lamentations 3:17-26A reading from the Book of LamentationsMy soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myselfmy future is lost, all that I hoped for from the LORD. The thought of myhomeless poverty is worm wood and gall; remembering it over and over leavesmy soul downcast within me.But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope: The favors of the LORDare not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; they are renewed each morning,so great is his faithfulness.My portion is the LORD, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Good is theLORD to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good to hope insilence for the saving help of the LORD.The Word of the Lord.A-5 Ecclesiastes 3:1-15A reading from the Letter of EcclesiastesThere is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under theheavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time touproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and atime to build. A time to weep, and a time
At the Vigil, Funeral Liturgy, and Rite of Committal, scriptural passages are read. The Catholic Church does not permit substituting other sources of literature for these readings. Poetry or excerpts from literature are appropriately read at the funeral home following the Vigil or at a later time when the family is gathered.