Funerals at Holy Ghost

PARISH of the HOLY GHOST Celebrating REQUIEM and FUNERAL for a CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN

Please note that during the COVID pandemic certain elements described below may not be possible. We will discuss this with anyone preparing a funeral

INTRODUCTION

The parish will give you a booklet to offer you our help in preparing a funeral. Please feel free to ask for any further information that you want to help you understand everything that is taking place. The parish will do anything it can to support you and help you at this time, and afterwards.

Prayer and reflection is very important at this time. We believe it is right and good to pray for someone who has died, because we continue to express our love and support for them through prayer. It is important to pray for God to strengthen and comfort us during this time.

A Catholic funeral is first and foremost to pray for the person who has died and to ask God to forgive their sins and have mercy on them. We also give thanks for all they have done in their life and shared with people. At the same time it is prayer for all who mourn to comfort them and to strengthen their faith.

The funeral can take several forms and be celebrated in different stages.

  1. Reception Vigil

Many families have a tradition of bringing the person who has died to church on the night before the funeral. This begins with a simple said service, and allows people who cannot  come to the funeral to be there to pray and pay their respects. If the person who died or the family have a special cross and/or bible these can be brought and placed on the coffin overnight. We also have a cross and bible in the parish for this use. It is only these signs of Christian life that can stand on the coffin. Mass cards are placed in a basket by the coffin and a floral tribute on the floor. A photograph can be placed at the foot of the coffin. Family members and friends may carry the coffin in and out of church.

  1. Requiem Mass

Generally the funeral service is celebrated with a Requiem Mass. This booklet provides the choice of readings for you and bidding prayers. Hymns will also need to be chosen.

Members of the family and friends and parishioners can read the readings and prayers, as well as bringing up the bread and wine at the Mass. There is a possibility of a tribute to the person who has died towards the end of Mass. This is usually about 3 minutes long and needs to be checked with the priest beforehand. Some prefer to leave this until the reception after the funeral.

 [ When the coffin is brought to church immediately before the Mass :  If the person who died or the family has a special cross and/or bible these can be brought and placed on the coffin overnight. We also have a cross and bible in the parish for this use. It is only these signs of Christian life that can stand on the coffin. Mass cards are placed in a basket by the coffin and a floral tribute on the floor. A photograph can be placed at the foot of the coffin. Family members and friends may carry the coffin in and out of church.]

  1. Funeral Service

Sometimes a simpler service is more appropriate either in church, in the cemetery chapel or at the crematorium. This booklet provides the choice of readings for you and bidding prayers. Hymns will also need to be chosen. Members of the family and friends and parishioners can read the readings and prayers. If the family wishes someone may speak about the person who has died. This may not be more than 3 minutes long and must be checked with the priest or deacon beforehand. Some prefer to leave this until the reception after the funeral.

 [When the coffin is brought to church immediately before the service :  If the person who died or the family has a special cross and/or bible these can be brought and placed on the coffin overnight. We also have a cross and bible in the parish for this use. It is only these signs of Christian life that can stand on the coffin. Mass cards are placed in a basket by the coffin and a floral tribute on the floor. A photograph can be placed at the foot of the coffin. Family members and friends may carry the coffin in and out of church.]

  1. Committal

The committal takes place at the grave or at the crematorium. Close family and anyone who is asked may come forward to sprinkle holy water on the coffin after the coffin is lowered into the grave or just before the curtains close at the crematorium. This may be the moment also for any personal flowers to be placed on the coffin.

It is a good to ask for the headstone of a grave to be blessed once it has been erected.

In our tradition after a cremation the ashes must  be buried. It is not permitted to scatter ashes. There is a short service for the burial of ashes which a priest or deacon will lead. 

  1. Signs of Christian Faith

– the Bible : is used to remind us that in it we find the words of Jesus promising us eternal life with him in heaven if we live the Christian life

– Holy Water : is used as a reminder of baptism, when the Christian person becomes a son or daughter of God, and is invited to begin that journey towards heaven

– the Crucifix : the sign of Jesus’ own death for us and his resurrection

– Incense : is used as a sign of our  prayers rising up to heaven, and its sweet smell is a sign of the dignity of each human being.

– Mass cards : are signs of prayer and support by the donor towards the family, a sign of their prayer for the person who has died

– the Tolling Bell : the church bell tolls slowly calling people to prayer and to announce to all that someone has died

  1. Recorded music – is not permitted during a Catholic funeral liturgy. Sometimes it may be appropriate for a piece to be played as the coffin is carried from the church or at the end of a funeral service at the crematorium. It is very important to ensure that the sound quality is good, and to remember that time goes very slowly when sitting still listening to music 
  1. Order of Service– the parish will provide the printed text of the order of service once you have chosen the hymns and readings etc. If you wish a cover with a photograph or colour cover this will need to be done elsewhere, and the order of service stapled inside. 
  1. Remembering our dead

– there is a strong Catholic tradition to ask for a Mass to be celebrated one month after someone’s death – we call this the Month’s Mind. Many also ask for a mass on the anniversary of death each year and perhaps on significant dates such as someone’s birthday.

– in the parish November is kept as a month of particular prayer for those who have died. People complete a November Altar List, containing the names of all those for whom they wish to pray. There is also an annual Requiem Mass in November for all who have died where those who have died in the previous year are remembered.

– Every year there is a service in each of our cemeteries when we gather as a Catholic community to pray for all who have died and have been buried or cremated there. 

PRAYERS FOR YOU TO USE AT THIS TIME

Prayer is at the heart of everyone’s relationship with God and with others in the Church. At this time of sadness and grief it is so important for us all.

OUR FATHER, who art in heaven.
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And for give us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

HAIL MARY, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

GLORY BE to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

PSALM 129  the traditional psalm for the dead.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleading.
If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.
My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on  his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than those who watch for day break.
Let the watchmen count on daybreak and Israel on the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem from all its iniquity

Eternal rest give to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.  Amen

May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen