The Rite of Funerals - Guidelines

 

The Funeral Liturgy



Death for the Christian is a time of fulfillment.  The victory over sin and destruction which was won for us by Christ becomes reality for a member of His body.  Born again of water and the Spirit, Christian share in this triumph by their share in the sacramental life of the community, the Church.


The hope of resurrection we celebrate at the death of our brother and sister is touched painfully with sorrow of loss and separation, of being left behind to cope with the reality that life must go on.  Just as the joy of Easter was preceded by the sorrow of Good Friday, so our lives are a mixture of joy and sorrow, promise and fulfillment.


At the Funeral liturgy, we as Christians gather to celebrate the promises made to us in Baptism, and pray for our loved one for whom these promises are nearing fulfillment.


It is appropriate that members of the family or friends of the deceased participate in the ministries of the liturgy in order to witness our faith in the midst of the assembly.


Participation in Ministry


The Church encourages participation in the various ministries of the Liturgy by members of the community.  Some of the opportunities for the family and friends to take part in ministry are outlined below.


Family members may participate in  “Placing of the Pall” (large white cloth to remind us of the deceased’s Baptism) on the casket at the beginning of the Funeral Mass.


Members of the family or friends of the deceased may wish to proclaim the Scriptures.  You will need to choose two Scripture Readings selected from the Funeral Liturgy choice of readings - the First Reading will be from the Old Testament and Second Reading will be from the New Testament. During the Easter Season, please select your First Reading from the “Easter Season First Reading” selections.

Readers should be familiar with the readings.  Readers will sit with the assembly and approach the Ambo (Pulpit) at the appropriate time for the reading.  Following their reading they may return to their places.  Readings may be found on the Music Ministry website: www.stpatrickmusicministry.com  Click on “Funerals”.


The First Reading which is taken from the Old Testament is proclaimed from the Ambo following the Opening Prayer by the Priest (after everyone is seated).  A copy of this reading will be provided for the reader to practice before the Mass.


The Responsorial Psalm is a standard one chosen by the Parish Music Director. The Psalm will be sung, following the First Reading. 

There are other choices available for you to listen to on the Music Ministry website.

www.stpatrickmusicministry.com

The Second Reading which is taken from the New Testament is proclaimed from the Ambo (lectern) following the Responsorial Psalm.  A copy of this reading will be provided for the reader to practice before the Mass.

The Gospel is usually chosen by the Presider, but if there is a specific Gospel reading you would like, please let us know.

At a funeral Mass, family members or friends of the deceased (usually a Catholic) may also participate by presenting the Gifts of bread and wine for the Eucharist during the Preparation of the Altar.

Words of Remembrance express an appreciation for the life of your loved one.

Please keep in mind that only approved Liturgical Music may be used at the Liturgy.  You may go to our website to make your selections for the music to be used during the Funeral Liturgy.  www.stpatrickmusicministry.com

It is our desire to help you plan a beautiful and sacred liturgy for your loved one.  These guidelines will ensure that your family and friends leave the funeral Mass with the hope and faith that we will all be reunited with Christ in eternal life.

We pray that you may know the peace of our Risen Lord during this difficult time, and we thank you for your participation in the ministries of the Liturgy.


Additional Information



Old and New Testament Readings


After choosing from the recommended text for a Funeral Mass, one Old Testament reading and one New Testament reading, you will be given practice copies of both of the Readings.


For the First Reading the reader will be reading from the lectern on the left as you are looking at the altar.  Their cue to come forward for this reading is when the priest sits down for the first time during Mass.  It is customary to stop at the foot of the altar step to bow their head in the direction of the altar before going to the lectern to do the reading.  When they get to the lectern, the lectionary will be opened to the page on which they will find this reading.  Since they will be reading from the lectionary, it will not be necessary to bring the practice copy of the reading with them.  After they have completed the reading they will go to the bottom of the altar step, once again bow their head in the direction of the altar, and then return to their seat.


(Please be careful as you turn to leave the lectern - there is a step down from the lectern)


For the Second Reading the reader will be reading at the lectern on the left as you are looking at the altar.  Their cue to come forward for this reading is when the singing of the Responsorial Psalm music is finished that follows the First Reading at Mass.  It is customary to stop at the foot of the altar step to bow their head in the direction of the tabernacle before going to the lectern to do the reading.  When they approach the lectern the lectionary will be opened.  The reading will be marked by a purple ribbon.  When the reading is completed, the reader will return to the bottom of the altar step, once again bow their head in the direction of the altar, and then return to their seat.


Offertory Gifts

It is customary for two people to be asked to present the gifts to the priest during Mass.  A small table with the Offertory Gifts (Paten with large host, and wine cruet) will be place in front of the first pew on the left side of the Church as you are looking at the altar.  After the homily the Prayer of the Faithful (General Intercessions) is read by the Priest or the Deacon.  Immediately following the Prayer of the Faithful the gift bearers will come forward from their seats to get the gifts to present to Father who will meet them at the altar step to receive them.  After Father has received the gifts, they should bow their head in the direction of the tabernacle and then return to their seat.


Words of Remembrance


The Order of Christian Funerals provides for the possibility of “a member or a friend of the family” speaking in remembrance of the deceased before Mass begins.  These  “words of remembrance” are not a eulogy.  They should express appreciation for the life of the deceased, or they may take the form of a prayer or other inspirational text.  They should offer comfort and hope to those who are grieving.  Upon hearing these words, those in attendance should come away with an understanding of the essence of who your loved one was; what he/she believed in, how his/her faith guided their lives and how he/she impacted the lives of others.  Sharing personal memories sometimes leaves those attending disconnected because they cannot share in those reminiscences.  Painting a picture of the spirit of your loved one in words will be most lasting.  Because these words are spoken in church we ask that they be respectful in nature.


One individual, either a family member or close personal friend, may speak on behalf of your loved one.  The guideline provided to us by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for this tribute is 3-5 minutes. We ask that you please keep within this time frame and not go overtime. The “words of remembrance” should be written.


These words of remembrance are not to constitute a eulogy as such.  Those who wish to give a eulogy or to share a story about the deceased are encouraged to do so during the Viewing, following the Committal at the cemetery, or during the luncheon afterwards.


The Words of Remembrance will be done before Mass begins, from the lectern on the left as you are looking at the altar.  It is customary to stop at the foot of the altar step to bow your head in the direction of the altar before going to the lectern.  After completing the Words of Remembrance, they will go to the bottom of the altar step, once again bow their head in the direction of the altar, and then return to their seat.





Katey Engel

Liturgical Music Director

126 Woodland Ave.

Malvern, PA

Phone: 610-647-2348

Fax:  610-647-4997

email:  katey.engel@gmail.com

Music Ministry website:

www.stpatrickmusicministry.com