3 Things You Should Know About A Catholic Funeral

This guide can be helpful if you’re planning or attending a Catholic funeral and need further information. We’ll discuss the three components of a Catholic funeral, what happens during Mass, and how to participate as a guest.

The vigil, funeral liturgy, and committal are the three main components of a typical Catholic funeral ceremony. Praying for the deceased and helping their family are top priorities.

A Catholic Funeral Consists of Three Components.

  • Before the funeral, family and friends congregate during the vigil.
  • The church-based funeral service known as the funeral liturgy
  • The burial of the body or the scattering of the ashes is known as the commitment.

The vigil and commitment are equally significant parts of a Catholic funeral as the funeral service or liturgy.

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Before The Service, Family & Friends Assemble for A Vigil.

The night before the funeral, the deceased’s relatives will typically hold a vigil. Vigils frequently occur at:

  • The deceased’s residence
  • A mortuary
  • A chapel

No matter where they are, people frequently sing and say prayers together. Sometimes the priest officiating the funeral service will be present to show support for the family.

The Deceased Person’s Body Will Probably Be Present At A Vigil.

The body is typically present for a vigil, and Catholics frequently choose an open casket so the deceased can be seen by loved ones one last time before being buried.

The family will select a closed coffin if they cannot exhibit the body for any reason.

The Service is Opened with The Priest Greeting Visitors at The Door.

The casket will then be blessed with holy water by the priest before being carried through the church. The coffin will then be placed on a catafalque, a raised platform, by the pallbearers who had it.

The family may place a pall, or white fabric, over the coffin and place cards, pictures, or a bible on a table close to the casket.

When The Casket is Placed, The Service Officially Begins.

The priest will deliver a eulogy or speech honouring, remembering the deceased’s life. Throughout the funeral, the priest would typically lead everyone in attendance to say various prayers and read Bible passages.

Typically, this comprises passages from:

  • the first section of the Bible, the Old Testament
  • the gospels, four New Testament narrative versions of Jesus’ life, the Book of Psalms, a specific section of the Old Testament (the second part of the Bible)

Sometimes, but not always, the Bible is read aloud by up to three family members. Sometimes, the family will pick the prayers or readings for the service. Or, with permission from the family, the priest may choose and recite prayers and hymns.

A Mass is Typically Celebrated at Catholic Funerals.

The readings and prayers mentioned above are a component of the Mass, which is the main form of Catholic liturgy.

Mass is significant outside of funerals because it offers a regular opportunity to experience a stronger relationship with God via prayer.

The Mass is divided into three parts.

  • The three prayers that make up the opening rites are The Opening Prayer, during which the priest leads the assembled people in silent prayer. – The Penitential Rite, in which participants confess their wrongdoing and beg God’s pardon. – The Gloria, a hymn that is sung in God’s glory.
  • The Scripture readings and hymns from the gospels are part of the Liturgy of the Word.
  • The priest extends an invitation for everyone present to partake in holy communion during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This entails consuming holy bread or a wafer while also consuming communion wine.

Catholics receive the Eucharist with a priest’s blessing and believe it to be Christ’s body and blood. Non-Catholic attendees are still able to receive the gift without partaking in communion.

Planning a funeral liturgy without a Mass is feasible if the deceased is the only practising Catholic in the family. Even though it won’t include communion or any other specific prayers, it will still be religious.

Just Before The Burial, The Rite of Committal is Held.

The priest will read from scripture and deliver additional carefully chosen prayers as visitors arrive at the graveside before lighting incense and splashing holy water on the casket.

The Lord’s Prayer, the most significant prayer in Christianity, is read after the Rite of Committal, followed by a blessing. A closing hymn or song is occasionally included in the committal, although not always.

Cremation Can Be Chosen 

Although it’s uncommon, a Catholic can choose to be cremated as long as the family doesn’t scatter, separate, or use the ashes to make jewellery or other keepsakes.

According to Catholicism, you must be united since the body is sacred, and death does not mark the end of life. Because of this, after a cremation, the church enters the urn containing the remains. When placing ashes in their ultimate resting place is frequently referred to as an “interment of ashes.”

Before the body is cremated, the priest, wherever possible, conducts the funeral ceremonies in the presence of the deceased. When the ashes are interred, the priest can continue to perform the Rites of Committal as usual.

Contact ICareFuneral to arrange a direct cremation.

We can assist you in planning the ideal cremation service. We’ll help transfer your loved one, take care of all the paperwork, and deliver the ashes to you.

Attending a Catholic funeral as a visitor

A Catholic funeral is a religious ceremony, and the family typically takes it very seriously. You can help the family out if you believe you are attending a typical Catholic funeral.

Dress formally

Attendees should wear bright, primarily black attire because Catholic funerals are traditionally sombre. This often entails donning a suit, a long, dark dress, skirt, or pantsuit, a white or dark shirt, a black tie, and elegant shoes.

Because every funeral is unique, it’s always best to carefully study invitations or event details in case they’ve decided to buck tradition.

Greetings to the deceased person’s family

When you attend the vigil and service, try to say hello to the family. If you don’t know the family well, a simple handshake or a brief expression of grief, such as “sad for your loss,” will do. Do make your own decisions. You can always send a note or flowers later if many people surround the family and they appear to be uncomfortable.

Often, well-wishers give flowers.

It’s customary to send flowers to the family, which can be sent to the funeral home or directly. The flowers that are most frequently delivered to the grieving before a Catholic funeral are:

  • White lilies with roses
  • Chrysanthemums \sCarnations

Every aspect of the Catholic funeral is equally significant to the family.

Even though the funeral might be divided into three parts, they all work together to create a singular experience. It enables the family to bid the deceased a proper spiritual and religious farewell.

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