Some Pastoral Guidance for Preparing your Funeral Liturgy
We are here to assist you in the preparation of a prayerful and peaceful funeral for you loved one. These resources are to help you in the preparation of the Funeral liturgy in our church.
A Catholic funeral is above all a moment of prayer in a liturgical setting. It is above all prayer for those who have died; it is prayer and consolation for those who remain- family and friends and for all the faithful. It is a moment also to give thanks to God for the life of the person and to commend them to His loving mercy and eternal peace.
With this in mind, the funeral liturgy reflects the prayerful nature of the celebration in the music, readings and rituals that we use; things that are appropriate in the liturgy of the Church and in the sacred space of the church.
RITUALS OF REMEMBRANCE
At the beginning of the Funeral Service, there are several options that you may consider.
The Words of Remembrance (Eulogy) are usually offered only by one person, and about 5-7 minutes in length. Bearing in mind the emotional nature of the occasion, and the attention span of the congregation, this time frame is optimal.
The Placing of Christian Symbols and Lighting of the Paschal Candle are brief rituals usually done with some background music or in silence. These are optional also.
The visual presentation (slide show) is also optional. If this option is chosen, the presentation should be accompanied only by appropriate music and images, and about 3 minutes (1 song) in length.
These timings for the Ritual of Remembrance are helpful to keep the Liturgy in balance and perspective so that the main focus of the celebration is also kept in perspective.
The readings from Sacred Scripture always are part of the Funeral , and your celebrant will guide you in the choice of these.
Music for the celebration needs to reflect the sacred nature of the occasion and the place. The guidelines of the Archbishop and the Rite of Christian Burial specify that religious music is appropriate for funerals. The music Directors of the Bayside Mission are here to assist you in the music for the Funeral service.
If you are preparing a booklet, we can supply a sample that you can use in your preparation.
CHOICE OF LITURGY
In choosing and preparing a Funeral Liturgy, it is helpful to consider the circumstances and the people who will be attending. Sometimes a Funeral service is fitting and appropriate in a funeral home or cemetery chapel. If the Funeral takes place in a church, there are two options: Funeral Prayers or the Funeral Mass. The former could be more appropriate and fitting where a number of the congregation are not Catholic or not familiar with Catholic ritual. This also allows for some more flexibility with timing etc. A Funeral Mass may be appropriate when the congregation are mainly Catholic and familiar with the rituals and responses of the Mass. The choice of service can be discussed with the celebrant.