"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted..." (Jesus' words)
Planning a Funeral
When a loved one has passed away, it generally is not necessary to contact St. Catherine's directly to make the arrangements for the funeral. This is usually done through whichever funeral home you choose to use. After the family meets with the director, the director contacts the parish to make arrangements and schedule the funeral. Once the time and date are confirmed, via the parish receptionist, the following will occur:
◾ You will be asked to stop by the rectory to pick up "the book", a copy of the Order of Christian Funerals, which contains the suggested readings to be used. A worksheet will be provided on which you will indicate the following:
a. The readings chosen
b. A family member or friend who will read each of the first two readings
c. The names of those who bring up the gifts of bread and wine at the Preparation of Gifts
d. The name of the person who will give the eulogy, if you wish to have someone speak at the funeral - this is not required
e. The worksheet should be given to the priest at the wake. If there is no wake, it should be dropped off at the rectory ahead of time. Please bring "the book" with you to the funeral.
◾ If you would like to meet with a priest to discuss the service, it is best to make an appointment or call ahead to make sure that he is here when you stop by.
◾ You will be contacted by our Music Director using the contact information you have provided.
◾ A simple program will be prepared for the funeral.
What about the eulogy?
The Rite of Christian Funerals speaks of "words of remembrance" to be given at the wake the night before. However, it has become the custom to have someone speak at the funeral service. This is NOT required; you may choose to forego a eulogy. If you do not, there are several guidelines:
1. One or two family or friends may speak. More than that must be approved by the priest.
2. The remarks should be written down and no more than 3 or 4 minutes.
3. The content should be respectful of the religious context of the funeral. Embarrassing stories about things that are best discussed outside of church and profane language are not permitted.
What is the Church's teaching regarding cremation and how does that affect the service if chosen?
Cremation is permitted. The cremation may take place either before or after the funeral service. If it takes place after, the service would be conducted just as any other funeral. At the conclusion of the service, the casket would be taken to the crematorium and the committal of the ashes takes place at a later date. If the cremation takes place before the service, the ashes may be brought to church where they will be placed on a table in the place where the casket is usually placed. At the conclusion of the service, the family may travel directly to the cemetery for the committal of ashes (much the same as they would if there is a casket in church) or arrange for the committal at a later date.
May I choose Scripture readings that are not included in the book?
Yes, any readings from the Scriptures may be used. Those readings contained in the book are only suggestions. However, the format must follow the liturgy. Therefore, the first reading is to be taken from any part of the Old Testament except the Psalms. The second reading is to be taken from any part of the New Testament except the Gospels. The third reading is always from one of the Gospels.
May non-Scriptural readings be used?
They may be used, but not during the Liturgy of the Word. They could be included after Holy Communion or at the graveside.
Is the chapel available for a funeral?
Yes, the chapel is available if you are certain that there will not be more than 60-70 people attending.
What about a "Memorial Mass"?
In recent years, some have come to call any Mass for someone who has died, that does not have the body present, a Memorial Mass. The fact is, a Mass that is celebrated on the occasion of the death of a person is a funeral, whether or not the body (or ashes) is present.
If you have any additional questions, please contact our Receptionist at 203-637-3661 x310.