The Order of Christian Funerals is a three-part ritual, with Vigil (viewing), Funeral Mass and Rite of Committal (internment). It is encouraged that the Funeral Rites be conducted in the presence of the body of the deceased. This practice is most in accord with the sacred principles and rituals of the Christian Faith. However, the Mass of Christian Burial may also be celebrated with the cremains present in the church.
Please contact the mortuary of your choice to begin the necessary arrangements. The mortuary will contact the parish to schedule a time for the Mass or Service. As a general rule, the Funeral Mass for a Catholic is celebrated in his or her parish of registration. Once the date and time have been determined, a priest or a staff member will contact you and schedule an appointment to meet. At the meeting, the priest or staff member will provide you with a selection of music and readings appropriate for the occasion, as well as answer any questions you may have about the Funeral Mass.
The Vigil for the Deceased
The Vigil is usually celebrated at the mortuary. The parish will arrange for a priest or a delegated lay minister to be present and assist with a Rosary or Scripture Service. The mortuary will be able to assist you with any special musical selections or photographic DVD memorials that you wish to play at the Vigil. The Vigil Service is the most appropriate time for a reflection or eulogy, sharing of stories, etc., as opposed to taking place at the Funeral Mass. The priest or deacon or delegated lay minister will facilitate this at the family's request.
Funeral Masses are ordinarily celebrated on Thursdays and Fridays at or after 10am. We will do our best to accommodate family needs based on priest availability. For the Funeral Mass, Christian symbols (cross, bible, scapular, etc.) may be placed on the casket at the beginning of the Funeral Mass. All secular items, such flags or Medals of Honor are important, but not part of the Funeral Mass. These secular and important symbols are removed at the church door and a pall is placed over the casket. This symbolizes our unity in Christ through our baptism. Christian symbols are only used within a church. Flowers may be placed in the church. Photos and other items are normally displayed in the vestibule area with the Book of Remembrance. A small table can be placed in the front of the altar for the cremains. Some families choose to have a picture and or flowers on the table with the urn.