The Vigil—Wake—Calling Hours
The Vigil Service for the deceased is an important part of the funeral rite and should not be eliminated. A priest, deacon or lay person may preside at this rite. At times this rite takes place approximately 20 minutes before Calling Hours begin. The ritual consists of scripture, and intercessory prayer.
The Funeral Mass
The heart of the Funeral Rites is the Funeral Mass. The Funeral Mass focuses, not on earthly life, but eternal life. This Mass celebrated for the deceased commends the soul to the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. The prayers of the Church entrust the individual to the care of God who has called our loved one to Himself. Our prayers to God entreat Him to be gracious and merciful, not looking upon the sins of the past but to the glory they are to share with Christ. “Having been baptized into His death, we hope to share a resurrection like His.” (Romans 4) This liturgy also offers comfort and consolation to those who mourn. The Mass lifts our hearts to God who will strengthen us in the days ahead and give us the grace of His comfort as we continue our journey of faith.
Music for the Funeral Mass
As in all liturgies, music is sung prayer and plays an integral role in the Funeral Mass. It allows us to express our faith, love and hope, drawing us closer in unity to our faith. While favorite songs that are popular or secular may hold special meaning to the deceased and the family, this type of music is not appropriate for the Mass nor is the use of recorded music. The family is invited and encouraged to be part of the music planning for the funeral liturgy.
The Mass lifts our hearts to God who will strengthen us in the days ahead and give us the grace of His comfort as we continue our journey of faith.
The parish musician, priest, or those assisting in the preparation of the funeral Mass, can be helpful in assisting in the choice of suitable hymns and the placement of music selections. Many churches have soloists and choirs that sing at funerals, enhancing the liturgy, honoring our loved one through sung prayer.
Rite of Committal
The last of the rites in the Order of Christian Funerals is the Rite of Committal which includes a verse from the scriptures, a prayer of committal, intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer and a blessing. If desired, music may be added to the Rite of Committal.
This rite should take place directly after the Funeral Mass at the time of burial. A priest, deacon or lay person may preside at this rite.
Canon Law states that the Church allows both cremation and burial as means of honoring the body of a deceased Catholic. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body be present during the Vigil Service and Funeral Mass, and if cremation is selected, then it should follow the celebration of the Funeral Mass.
The remains are to be placed in a worthy vessel which is then carried and transported with the same respect and attention given to a casket carrying the body.
St. Mary's Cemetery
For information on burial in St. Mary's Cemetery, please visit our Cemetery page.