A Catholic Funeral Mass: A Guide - FuneralDirect (2023)


When a Catholic dies, the Church immediately begins to pray for the eternal rest of his soul. The Funeral Mass is the church's highest prayer for the deceased and their bereaved relatives. The order of a Catholic funeral mass can be divided into four main parts: the introductory rites, the liturgy of the word, the celebration of the Eucharist and the final rites. Initiation rites help the community to come together to pray and remember those who have passed away. This part of the funeral mass usually includes a procession to the church, a greeting from the priest and theopening phrases. Readings from Holy Scripture and a homily (a short sermon) are given at the Liturgy of the Word. The liturgy of the Eucharist is the central part of the Mass in which the Eucharist (communion) is shared. Closing rites include closing prayers, blessing of the body (if any) and farewell to the community. The order of a Catholic funeral mass may vary slightly depending on the circumstances, but the main parts are always the same. It's a beautiful and compassionate way to honor the departed and offer comfort to your grieving loved ones.

(Video) Catholic Funeral Service

The vigil, the funeral mass and the funeral rite are the three most important rituals of the orderchristian funerals“Catholic Churches in the United States.

At a funeral mass, the coffin containing the body of the deceased or the cremated remains of the deceased is carried to the church where special prayers are said. In some cases, amiss memorialIt can be performed without the remains of a deceased person or cremated remains.

A funeral mass is held in the church on the day of the funeral (if no corpse is present). At the entrance to a church there is a jet of water and a veil covering the mortal remains as a sign of baptism.

Family, friends, clergy, and funeral homes are often asked to deliver eulogies. Inreligious funerals, the only speakers are usually clerics.

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What is the order of a Catholic funeral?

A Catholic Funeral Mass: A Guide - FuneralDirect (1)

A Catholic funeral usually consists of a memorial service, funeral mass, and burial. The service of remembrance, also known as the wake, usually takes place the night before the requiem mass. During the vigil, family and friends gather to pray, share memories and support one another. The Funeral Mass is a celebration of the life of the deceased and a time to remember the resurrection hope. Burial usually takes place immediately after the requiem mass.

The church now allows cremation, but it cannot compete with burial. When a family chooses cremation, it is usually best to have the cremation after the funeral. After cremation, the funeral rite is performed (see notes). The cremated remains of a human body must be treated with the same respect as those from which they came. Those whose remains are cremated must be buried in a tomb or in a mausoleum or crypt. Due to financial difficulties, some families opt for cremation, which means they have no burial or burial plans. There is a possibility that the pastor is taking pastoral sensitivity seriously if he can only perform the cremation (see Appendix 415). Give relatives the opportunity to do sorespectful burialof their loved ones would allow them to show their appreciation for Christian burial.

What is a Catholic Requiem Mass?

A Catholic Funeral Mass: A Guide - FuneralDirect (2)
(Video) How To Officiate or Conduct A Funeral or Memorial Service. Order Of Service, Songs, Sermon, Eulogy.

A requiem mass includes acoffin blessingwith holy water, procession through the streets, Bible readings by the family and the parish priest, offering of bread and wine and the usual recess.

The Catholic burial process consists of three steps. Not all Catholic funerals follow this pattern, but they do incorporate elements from each of the three phases. After the coffin arrived at the church on the eve of the funeral, aprayer serviceIt is performed to honor the deceased. The priest sprinkles holy water on the coffin as he arrives at the church door. Family and friends may be present when a coffin is carried. Mourners stand by the coffin being lowered into the tomb for burial. At the conclusion of the farewell, special prayers are offered for the deceased.

When a body is to be cremated, the coffin is taken to the crematorium for a short service. Funerals in Catholic churches can be slightly more expensive than funerals in non-Catholic churches. If you plan on playing music, reading a book, or sharing memories of the deceased, you may need to schedule double hours at the cemetery or crematorium. Funerals are becoming more traditional, with family and friends transporting bodies and preparing the casket themselves. In the case of a Catholic funeral, this is perfectly justified. An additional fee is often charged for an organist or other musician. A funeral home account is usually funded with these fees.

Catholics and other Christians profess their faith in a variety of ways, including attending Catholic funerals. the catholicfuneral traditionIt's rich and varied, and you can have a Catholic funeral without a memorial service. To achieve this goal, consider hosting a more standard memorial service in addition to a memorial service.catholic vigiland burial, as well as skipping the requiem mass. Catholic funerals can be performed in a variety of ways, and you and your family can choose the service that best suits your needs. There is no need to go to a church for a service; Instead, you can do your job at home. A Catholic funeral can also be celebrated without mass if there is a funeral service as well as a Catholic vigil and burial. Be sure to add songs and Bible readings if you choose this option.

(Video) The Real Purpose of Funerals

What is the process of a funeral mass?

A Catholic Funeral Mass: A Guide - FuneralDirect (3)

ANDTotenmesseIt is a mass for the dead sung in the Catholic Church by the priest, with the participation of the choir and the congregation united in prayer. The Mass is divided into two parts: the Liturgy of the Word with readings from the Holy Scriptures and the celebration of the Eucharist with offerings of bread and wine and Communion.

What is a requiem?

A requiem is aroman catholic massdedicated to the dead, but also contains movements that are part of the daily mass (Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Christi) and some other movements that contain texts of mourning and memory.

the last requiem

The Requiem, also known as the Last Requiem, is the central theme of a requiem mass sung or performed by a choir or orchestra. Originally written as a funeral mass, the solemn composition can now be used at any funeral, including that of the deceased.
After the requiem, the body of the deceased is usually buried or cremated.

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funeral mass order

The order of a Catholic funeral can vary depending on whether the person was a practicing Catholic and, if so, how active they were in their faith. In general, the sequence of events at a funeral mass is as follows: procession,opening prayer, Liturgy of the Word, sermon, celebration of the Eucharist, prayer of praise and recess.

The three parts of the crowd

The dough is laid out in the following order. Vigil is a collection of prayers and readings from the Old Testament.
The Mass as we know it in the liturgy.
The final act of devotion is receiving the blessing and prayer.


What is the order of a Catholic Mass funeral? ›

Three separate rites comprise our Catholic Funeral Rites: The Vigil, The Liturgy, and The Committal. Each rite serves a distinct purpose to assist you on the path to healing. Each rite can be personalized to a degree to impart a deeper meaning relevant to the life of the deceased and to those who mourn.

Can a Catholic Mass be said at a funeral home? ›

The Archdiocese of Detroit notes, for example, on its website: “Funeral Masses are not allowed in funeral homes. The funeral liturgy outside of Mass, as provided in the 'Order of Christian Funerals,' is allowed in the funeral home.”

Is a funeral Mass the same as a funeral? ›

A Catholic funeral actually consists of three parts, each of which may occur at different times. The first part is the Vigil service, which takes place at the wake. Next is the Funeral Mass, which is the traditional funeral ceremony. Finally, there is the Rite of Committal.

Can you have a Catholic funeral service without Mass? ›

In the Catholic Church, there are two forms – a Funeral Mass or a Funeral Service (Ceremony without Mass). As you work with your Funeral Director, you may find the following information helpful. Your Funeral Director will make arrangements with us regarding the place and time of the celebration.

What is the difference between a funeral Mass and a memorial Mass? ›

A Funeral Mass has the body of the deceased or the cremated remains of the deceased present and has all the special prayers attributed to that Mass. When the body or the cremated remains are not present it is called a Memorial Mass.

Who gives the eulogy at a Catholic funeral? ›

The funeral liturgy will include at least one reading from the Old Testament and a psalm, which are read by family, friends or the priest. The priest will read a passage from one of the gospels, deliver a homily and give a eulogy for the person who has died.

Can you wear jeans to a Catholic funeral? ›

While suits and jackets aren't required, you will not look out of place if you decide to go that route. On the other end of the spectrum, it's best to avoid wearing jeans or overly casual clothing.

Do you take communion at a funeral Mass? ›

Church Funeral

It is common for practicing Catholics to have a funeral Mass, which includes Holy Communion. By doing this, they're literally commemorating Christ's death and resurrection. A Catholic Mass can be profoundly moving, as they include music, prayers, and hymns.

Are flowers appropriate for a Catholic funeral Mass? ›

A funeral mass takes place in the church some days later. Flowers are welcome and appreciated in the Roman Catholic faith. You can send them to the family home, church, or funeral home.

Do you wear black to a funeral Mass? ›

Do you have to wear black to a funeral? In short, no. When it comes to knowing what to wear to a funeral that's not black, there are an array of alternatives that men and women can wear. Although black is the most traditional of colors, smart and dark clothing is also acceptable.

Who should attend a funeral Mass? ›

Close family and friends of the person who died will likely attend the visitation and funeral service. Others may attend both or may need to or prefer to attend one or the other but not both. Visitation may take place the day before the funeral, the evening before or even just hours before the funeral service.

What is another name for funeral Mass? ›

A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead (Latin: Missa pro defunctis) or Mass of the dead (Latin: Missa defunctorum), is a Mass of the Catholic Church offered for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular form of the Roman Missal.

Is missing Mass on Sunday a mortal sin in the Catholic Church? ›

Our Sunday Mass obligation is based on the Third Commandment: “Remember the sabbath day — keep it holy” (Ex 20:8). All of the commandments of God are serious matter, so to deliberately miss Mass on Sunday — without a just reason — would objectively be considered a mortal sin.

Can Catholics be cremated? ›

As a Catholic, may I be cremated? Yes. In May 1963, the Vatican's Holy Office (now the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith) lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation.

What are the three types of Catholic funeral celebration? ›

However, in the face of these modern trends, Catholics are encouraged to celebrate a funeral in three stages or movements, reflecting the Easter journey of Jesus Christ, from death to resurrection: The Vigil, The Funeral Liturgy and The Committal.

How long does a funeral Mass usually last? ›

For example, while a typical Christian funeral ceremony may last 30 to 60 minutes, a Buddhist funeral service that includes meditation, songs, and chanting may be much longer. Other religious funerals, such as Hindu funerals (sometimes known as Terahvin), can be shorter.

What to do at a Catholic funeral Mass if you are not Catholic? ›

If a funeral Mass is celebrated for a non-Catholic, for instance, the name of the deceased should not be included in the Eucharistic prayer, but their name can be used in the other prayers. For a family member who is non-baptized, a priest or deacon could, if requested, offer prayers for the deceased in a funeral home.

Why don t Catholics allow eulogies? ›

The rationale is that eulogies are often considered the centrepiece of the service, and therefore detract from the mass and its central message, which is the Christian meaning of death.

How much do you tip a Catholic priest for a funeral? ›

Funeral minister, clergy, or religious leader

While there isn't usually a fee for this practice, it's appropriate to leave a tip. Don't feel pressured to pay more than you can afford. Anything from $50-$300+ is fair, and this money is usually given directly to the church or religious organization.

Where does the eulogy go in a Catholic funeral Mass? ›

Eulogies are not considered a part of the Catholic liturgical tradition for funeral rites. If a eulogy is requested, the most appropriate place for a funeral eulogy is at the vigil, rosary, or a reception before the funeral Mass.

How long is a Catholic Mass funeral? ›

Full Catholic funerals with a Mass typically last an hour or more. Catholic funerals where a full Mass doesn't occur are typically shorter, coming in at about 40 minutes.

Do you bring anything to a Catholic funeral? ›

Depending on the traditions and customs observed by the individual the most traditional items include sympathy flowers, baked goods and desserts, fruit, dried fruit, & nuts, and assorted chocolates.

How long is the Catholic mourning period? ›

The mourning period usually lasts for forty days, but this depends on the traditions of the family. This will be a time to gather and reflect on the loved ones life and the loss to the family and community.

Can you wear white pants to a funeral Mass? ›

As a neutral color, white should not be considered inappropriate at most North American funerals. Though you should ask the family hosting the service when in doubt, plain, neutral colors are generally acceptable for memorials. Wearing white in conjunction with other dark tones is absolutely appropriate.

What does wearing white to a funeral mean? ›

The family of someone who dies wears white mourning, in the hope that their loved ones are reborn again. The idea of white mourning, otherwise known as deuil blanc in French, was formed during the 16th century when white was worn by bereaved children and unmarried women.

Why can't Catholics be cremated? ›

Cremation does not “prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life,” the Vatican says, but it does raise the possibility that the deceased's body, which the church believes is sacred, will not be properly respected by ancestors and relatives.

What do you bring to a funeral Mass? ›

Flowers, sympathy cards, custom keepsakes, and donations are all appropriate gifts to bring to a funeral. While a gift is certainly not required, it can be a thoughtful way to communicate your love for those grieving. Flower and plant arrangements can often be sent to the funeral home prior to the service.

What not to say at a funeral? ›

Here are seven things to avoid saying at a funeral or to someone grieving the loss of a loved one.
  • “They're an angel now.”
  • “I know how you feel.”
  • “They look so good.”
  • “Don't cry” or “Go ahead and cry.”
  • “At least it wasn't worse.”
  • “God is sovereign.”
  • “Let me know if I can help.”
  • What can you say instead?
May 24, 2018

What does wearing purple to a funeral mean? ›

During the Procession of the Holy Cross, on Good Friday, men and boys dress in purple robes and hoods as a sign of mourning and symbol of the pain and suffering of Christ's crucifixion. Many devout Catholics in Brazil also wear purple, alongside black, while mourning the loss of a loved one.

Can you wear jeans to a church funeral? ›

You should not wear jeans to a funeral. You should wear business attire or more formal clothing unless otherwise specified by the family of the deceased.

When should you not go to a funeral? ›

5 reasons not to go to the funeral:

Your attendance at the service would be upsetting to any member of the immediate family. The services are private and not open to the public. The services are out of town and you cannot get there, or you cannot arrange for the time off work.

What color should I wear to a funeral? ›

What is appropriate clothing for a funeral? Traditionally, funeral etiquette suggests men and women wear black clothing that's conservative and respectful. Black or dark colours are most common, but some cultures expect mourners to wear a less traditional funeral colour.

What is the difference between a rosary and a funeral Mass? ›

The Catholic Rosary/Vigil Prayer Service is usually held the evening before the Funeral Mass. Much like a viewing or a wake, family and friends gather at the funeral home to pray and remember their loved one. A priest or deacon will than proceed with the rosary/vigil funeral ceremony.

Is a funeral Mass a celebration? ›

Funeral Liturgy

The Funeral Mass is the principle celebration of the Catholic funeral, where family and friends join to reaffirm that life has not ended.

What do Catholics call a eulogy? ›

The homily, given after the Gospel by the priest or deacon, is an interpretation of the person's life by reference to the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.

Does watching Mass on TV count? ›

As a general rule, Catholics are obliged to attend Mass each Sunday. This is in fulfillment of the Second Commandment. Simply watching Mass on TV does not fulfill the obligation. A Catholic who can reasonably do so must attend Mass at a parish church or oratory.

What is the unforgivable sin in the Catholic Church? ›

The unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

What are the 4 mortal sins? ›

These sins are vices and are defined as contrary to the Christian virtues of holiness. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth (acedia).

Can Catholic ashes be split? ›

It is not permitted to divide the cremated remains and retain, inter or entomb them in more than one place. It is also not permitted to divide the cremated remains in such a way that they are contained in lockets or jewelry.

Which part of the body does not burn during cremation? ›

What's really returned to you is the person's skeleton. Once you burn off all the water, soft tissue, organs, skin, hair, cremation container/casket, etc., what you're left with is bone. When complete, the bones are allowed to cool to a temperature that they can be handled and are placed into a processing machine.

Can Catholics get tattoos? ›

Paul makes it perfectly clear that the ceremonial law is no longer binding. I'll cut to the chase: There is nothing immoral about tattoos. Mother Church has never condemned them, and neither can I. It is one of those areas where a Catholic must follow his or her conscience.

What are the rules for a Catholic funeral? ›

Elements of a Catholic Funeral

A vigil service with either the body or cremated remains present. If the body is present, the casket may be either open or closed. A funeral Mass or service with either the body or cremated remains present. If the body is not present, the service is referred to as a Memorial Mass.

What do you wear to a Catholic Mass? ›

Women and girls must wear dresses or skirts that cover the knee completely when sitting or standing; slacks, shorts, sleeveless, tight or low-cut clothing or dresses with long cuts or slits are to be avoided. Men and boys should wear suit coats and ties. (Except in very hot weather)

What is the proper order of a funeral service? ›

The list below shows how an order of service would usually outline the service.
  • Introduction/Welcoming Words.
  • Prayers or Opening Readyings.
  • Music Selection/Hymns.
  • Formal Readings including the Obituary.
  • Moment of Silence.
  • Eulogy or Life Tribute.
  • Informal Tributes.
  • Thank you and Acknowledgements.

What are the parts of a Catholic funeral? ›

There are three parts to a Catholic funeral
  • The vigil - where family and friends gather before the funeral.
  • The funeral liturgy - the funeral service held in a church.
  • The committal, or final commendation - the burial of the body or ashes.
Jul 1, 2021

What is the sequence in a funeral? ›

An order of service outlines everything that will happen in the funeral ceremony, such as readings, prayers and songs. It's also a way to remember the person who has died, by sharing photos and memories of them. An order of service is usually a small, printed booklet that's given to people who go to the funeral.

How are Catholic funerals organized? ›

Checklist for Planning a Catholic Funeral Service
  1. Look for a will or end-of-life plans. ...
  2. Contact the funeral director. ...
  3. Contact the church. ...
  4. Create a budget. ...
  5. Decide on cremation or burial. ...
  6. Choose pre-funeral services. ...
  7. Decide on the funeral service. ...
  8. Plan the Rite of Committal and reception.
May 11, 2022

What are the three stages of a Catholic funeral? ›

The Catholic Rites are comprised of three separate and vital parts. The Vigil, Funeral Mass and the Committal. Through these sacred and solemn Catholic Rites, the family and friends of the deceased are reminded of the companionship and support of Christ and all believers.

Who sits on first row at funeral? ›

The front rows are for the immediate family so sit nearer the back if you did not know the person very well. However, if there are few mourners present then sit nearer to the front. It does not matter which side of the 'aisle' you sit.

Who should speak first at a funeral? ›

The speech is ideally given by someone who knew the person well enough to gather and share memories and highlights of his/her life. Sometimes the choice is obvious within the family. There is often one person who seems to be the unofficial family spokesperson.


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