With faith, hope, and love and the Catholic belief in the resurrection
promised through Jesus Christ, Catholic funerals are when the Church seeks
firstly to offer the Mass for the benefit of the soul of the deceased.
The Catholic Funeral Service
The Catholic Church offers distinct occasions for common prayer at the
time of funerals. The Order of Christian Funerals contains three clusters of Rites:
- The Vigil - a time to eulogize the deceased and pay any fraternal or civil tributes.
- The Funeral Liturgy, and Final Commendation and Farewell - a Mass or liturgy
in commemoration for the deceased.
- The Rite of Committal - prayer and blessing of the body and final resting place.
Consultation with your priest or parish minister can help determine your
The Rite of Committal is the Catholic interment service, at which the body
is finally buried or interred. The Rite of Committal may take place at
a gravesite, mausoleum crypt or tomb, or columbarium (in the event that
the body was cremated). Family and friends gather together with a priest
or deacon to pray over the body one last time. In order to make the burial
or interment site a sacred place for the deceased, the priest or deacon
will bless the place before the body or remains are placed inside. After
the site has been blessed, the body or remains will be committed to the
earth. The priest or deacon will then recite more prayers, and then everyone
will join in to say the Lord's Prayer.
Where to Hold a Catholic Funeral
Catholic funerals may be held in your Catholic parish, though they may
also be held in the approved chapels of Catholic assisted living or care
facilities. No Mass can be held at the cemetery or funeral home.
Specific Catholic Funeral Arrangements
Throughout the service, no matter who is leading, laypeople may participate
as readers, musicians, pallbearers, ushers, and in other usual roles.
The music played at the Funeral Mass should be appropriate church music;
popular or non-religious music is not appropriate. However, the family
of the person who died may coordinate with the priest to have special
or especially meaningful hymns, psalms, or readings included in the Mass.