Planning Your Love One’s Funeral
“Does a woman forget the baby at her breast, or fail to cherish the child of her womb.
Yet even if they forget, I will never forget you.”Is.49:16.
Time of the Service
A funeral liturgy normally takes place during the regular week day parish Mass at 12.30pm. This enables some of the parishioners to gather with you and your family and support you with their prayers. There may be situations where it is not possible or appropriate to have a funeral at this time. If so we will do our best to find a time suitable to both the family and St Mary’s.
Planning the Funeral Liturgy
There are a number of different ways family and friends can be involved in the funeral liturgy.
Here are a few suggestions:
In every funeral liturgy the church attaches great importance to the readings of the Word of God. “In this time of loss the family and community turn to God’s Word as a source of faith and hope, as light and life in the face of darkness and death” (Introduction to Rite of Funerals).
You may choose to have either one or two readings before the Gospel reading. A member of the family or friend may be asked to read. The Gospel, however, is always read by the priest celebrating the Mass or a deacon if present.
It is not appropriate to have a non-scriptural reading at this point in the liturgy for obvious reasons. There will, however, be an opportunity later in the liturgy.
Prayer of Intercession
After the homily, the priest invites the people gathered to pray for the deceased, the family and all those who mourn. You may choose the intercessions or compose your own. A member of the family or friend may be invited to lead the congregation in these prayers.
A selection of Scripture readings, psalms and prayers of intercession is available to help you in your choice.
Presenting the Offertory Gifts
You may choose a family member or friend to bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.
Choosing Hymns and Music
You will find an insert with a selection of hymns and how they may be used at different parts of Mass. They should reflect our belief in the resurrection. You are not limited to the selection you find there or the suggested use. It is a guideline only.
You may wish to include a favourite piece of music that is not a hymn or, indeed, religious. If so, we would suggest that this be as you enter or leave the Church. It is not appropriate to include such a piece of music during the Mass itself.
Tribute to the Deceased
The funeral liturgy provides the opportunity for something to be said about the deceased before the final commendation and farewell at the end of the Mass. This can often be quite an emotional moment both for the person speaking about the deceased and family and friends listening. We would suggest, therefore, that it be brief.
This is the appropriate time, too, for reading of a poem or reflection should the family wish.
A Prayer When a Loved One Has Died
We give back to you, O God, those whom you gave to us. You did not lose them when you gave them to us and we do not lose them by their return to you. Your dear Son has taught us that life is eternal and love cannot die. So death is only a horizon and a horizon is only the limit of our sight. Open our eyes to see more clearly and draw us closer to you that we may know that we are nearer to our loved ones, who are with you. You have told us that you are preparing a place for us: prepare us also for that happy place, that where you are we may also be always, O dear Lord of life and death.