In the Order of Christian Funerals, the Church asks that the entire community, priests and laity, be involved in ministering to the family of the deceased. The Breavement Ministry is an outreach program for members of our Saint Isaac Jogues Parish Community who are experiencing personal loss through death. This group has been formed to provide comfort, support and encouragement for persons who share the same life crisis. Trained volunteers as well as the welcoming embrace of those who share the same difficult challenges becomes an initiation to a new outlook, renewed determination and a deeper trust in God’s power and presence. The time immediately following death is often one of shock and bewilderment for those who were closed to the deceased. The Prayers of the Church help those who mourn express their grief as well as find consolation through faith in Christ. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.
Guidelines for Catholic Funerals: What does the Church expect regarding funerals? The national Conference of Catholic Bishops has put forth the following guidelines:
Following the ancient traditions of mankind and the Catholic community, the church asks us to celebrate the funeral of those gone forth from us in a liturgy with their bodily remains present. This is to show proper and appropriate respect for the vessel indwelt by the Holy Spirit and used throughout their journey of faith here on earth. This is, after all, the body that will be raised up in glory of the Second Coming of our Lord at the end of time. This funeral Liturgy usually takes place in the church/chapel at the celebration of the Eucharist. Following this celebration, the church recommends the respectful interment or entombment of the body.
However, the Church also recognizes the desire of some to use cremation as the preferred method of disposition. In view of this desire, the church recommends the cremation take place AFTER the funeral Liturgy. Following the cremation, the cremains should be buried or entombed.
If significant reasons to depart from these guidelines exist, reasonable accommodations may be made. Please feel free to call the Parish Office, 407-249-0906, if you have questions regarding actual funeral arrangements or when planning such arrangements before the need actually arises.
Additional Guidelines for Catholic Funerals
When a family member or friend becomes seriously ill, please notify the parish. It is important that the sick person be able to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing. When one is in danger of death, Viaticum (Eucharist) is offered. All sacraments are for the living and are to be administered when one has the capacity to receive the strength and blessing they offer.
Funeral Rites of the Church
At the Vigil Service, usually conducted in the funeral home on the eve of the Funeral Mass, the faithful keep watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and find strength in Christ’s presence. The vigil is a Scripture or Evening Prayer Service. This service is often the first gathering of the faithful and friends with the family, and some, who cannot attend the Funeral Mass because of work or other reasons, will attend.
The tradition of the Church has always been the celebration of the Mass with the body present. Christians respect and honor the body of the dead, which in Baptism becomes the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The funeral Mass includes the reception of the body, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Final Commendation and Farewell.
Rite of Committal
For the final disposition of the body, it is the ancient Christian custom to bury or entomb the bodies of the dead in a cemetery, which means a “resting place”. The rite of Committal is the conclusion of the funeral rites, and may be celebrated beside the open grave or place of internment. The faithful express the hope that, with all those who have gone before marked with the sign of faith the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection and passes into the welcoming company of those who see God face to face.
Because of the sacred tradition of awaiting the resurrection of the body, the Church does not encourage, but allows cremation. Cremation is not to be seen as the norm. If cremation is chosen, the Funeral Mass with the body present is to precede cremation. However, when circumstances prevent the presence of the body at the Funeral Liturgy, it is appropriate that the urn containing the cremated remains of the body be present for the funeral rites, including the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal. The Funeral Liturgy should always be celebrated in a church. The cremated remains of the body should then be reverently buried or entombed in a cemetery or columbarium rather than scattered. Catholics believe in the communion of saints and the resurrection of the dead. We pray for the dead, and we pray to be prepared for death whenever it comes.
The St. Isaac Jogues Bereavement Ministry invites you to offer your time and talent to reach out to parish members and area church. The ministry offers you the opportunity to grow spiritually by showing your love and compassion. Training provided.