Our Catholic way of life teaches us that death is not an end of life but a change. In the burial of a Christian, we celebrate the faith of the deceased person and Christ’s victory over death and suffering. Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of all.
Rites of Christian Burial
There are three principal ritual movements in our Catholic tradition:
1. The Vigil
The visitation and vigil is a much-needed opportunity for the family to be greeted by parishioners, neighbors, and friends. It is also the appropriate time for remembering the deceased individual through the sharing of stories, pictures, and other memorabilia. The vigil will generally be held in the afternoon preceding an evening funeral liturgy or on the evening preceding a funeral liturgy that will take place during the next day. The vigil is celebrated at the funeral home or the Parish Church.
2. The Funeral Liturgy
Following the vigil, the Eucharistic Liturgy of Christian Burial is usually celebrated in the parish of the deceased. In the parish community, the family gathers with friends to Break Open the Word of God and share the Eucharist rejoicing in the promise of Jesus and our hope in the resurrection.
3. The Rite of Commital
The Rite of Commital, the conclusion of the funeral rites, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the deceased member. In committing the body to its final resting place, the ritual is both a farewell and a final commendation of our loved one to the Lord.
When Someone Dies
Contact the funeral home of your choice. Usually, the funeral director will contact the parish office to arrange for the burial as well as sharing the necessary information with the parish. Notify the parish office as soon as possible to coordinate other details.
The priest, deacon or pastoral minister presiding at the funeral liturgy or vigil will be in contact with the family to arrange a meeting to prepare the funeral service (reflecting on the life of the deceased, select readings and hymns, discuss family participation, etc.).
During this time of loss, the community of St. Mary Parish celebrate the life of your loved one and remembers the family, relatives, and friends in our prayers. As we walk with you during these difficult days, may God bring peace to your grieving hearts.