The pastoral ministry of the Church and its funeral rites is directed to placing the event of death in the context of our Christian faith. The funeral liturgy is a privileged moment for the family and believing community to offer worship, praise and thanks to God for the gift of the deceased, to commend the departed to the mercy of God, and to offer to the grieving the consolation that comes from the Word of God and celebration of Christ’s saving sacrifice in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Vigil for the Deceased
The Church provides rites for use during the period between the time of death and the funeral Mass. In this way, the Church prayerfully
accompanies the family through the initial time of adjustment following the death of a loved one, helping them to draw comfort and hope from Christian faith. These prayers normally take place at either the parish church or the funeral home, in the presence of family, friends and members of the parish community.
When one of its own dies, the Church earnestly desires that the family and friends of the deceased gather with members of the parish community for the celebration of the funeral Mass. This takes place in the parish church. We are strengthened by the scriptural proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and by the eucharistic presence of our Lord, whose own passover from death to life gives hope to all who die believing in Him.
The Rite of Committal
The funeral rites conclude with the rite of committal, celebrated at the place of interment. The family and other members of the Church prayerfully offer their final act of respect toward the loved one’s body, which will be raised up on the last day in accordance with the promise of Christ.