A funeral liturgy is a time to remember a loved one who has died, a time to grieve, and a time to support and encourage one another. Most importantly, it is a time to pray for the loved one who has died. We are a people of hope who know Christ’s promise of an eternal life to come. We pray that our loved one will come to share in the beauty of that life.
Please call the parish office if your loved one has died or if you would like to make plans in advance. The parish works closely with local funeral homes to organize funeral liturgies.
If a loved one has died, what are the steps involved in organizing a funeral?
First, call the parish to let us know. We will support you in prayer. Next, contact a funeral home. A funeral director will meet with you and find out what you have in mind and when you would like to have the funeral. The funeral director will contact the parish to coordinate plans with us.
After you have made arrangements with the funeral home and the time of the funeral is set, the parish staff will meet with you to talk about the liturgy. You may choose readings and music, you may consider asking family members to read the scriptures or help with other ministries, and you may want to think about other options. Readings and musical selections are found on this web page if you would like to look at those in advance.
What is the format of a Catholic funeral?
The funeral Mass is our greatest prayer, and it is encouraged.
Many families schedule hours for friends and neighbors to visit at the funeral home the day before the funeral Mass. You may want to include a short vigil service of scripture and prayer or a recitation of the rosary during those hours at the funeral home.
On the day of the funeral Mass, most families schedule an hour of visitation at the church before the funeral Mass begins. The casket is placed in the Gathering Space. At the end of the hour, guests are invited into the church while the family gathers around the casket for prayer and then accompanies the casket into the church to begin the Mass.
After the funeral Mass, a procession typically takes the family to the cemetery. A short prayer service is offered at the cemetery.
May we celebrate a funeral Mass for a non-practicing or lapsed Catholic?
Yes, as long as the deceased would not have been opposed to this.
May we celebrate a funeral Mass for someone who is not Catholic?
If the person is a baptized Christian or if the person was seeking baptism, we may. For a non-baptized person, a service of scripture and prayer is more appropriate than a funeral Mass.
May we celebrate a Christian funeral for an unbaptized child or a stillborn child?
Yes, if the parents intended to baptize the child.
May we celebrate a funeral Mass for a person who has committed suicide?
Yes. We don’t know the state of mind of the person and we entrust them to the mercy of a loving God.
Are there options for a Catholic funeral other than the funeral Mass?
Yes. A simple service of scripture and prayer may be offered either at the church or the funeral home. While a funeral Mass is our greatest prayer, this simple service may be a good choice if the deceased was not Catholic.
May Catholics be cremated?
Yes, as long as we respect the body and understand that we are expecting a resurrection of the body. Ideally, the cremation should take place after the funeral Mass. Since we look forward to a resurrection of the body, cremated remains must be buried or entombed, just as an intact body would be buried or entombed. The remains should never be scattered or treated as mementos.
May we celebrate a funeral Mass with the cremated remains in church?
Yes. The Church prefers that the funeral liturgy be celebrated with the body present in a casket and then have the cremation after the funeral Mass. However, it is an option to celebrate the funeral liturgy in the presence of cremated remains. The urn containing the cremated remains may be placed on a table or stand where the body would normally be during the liturgy.
May a family member speak at a funeral Mass?
Words of Remembrance are permissible at the end of a funeral Mass. One person may speak, using a written text, and with a time limit of two to three minutes. If someone is speaking during the Mass, the focus must be on the deceased person’s life of faith…. how this person has shown the way of Christ. This isn’t the time for anecdotes from family vacations.
Are there other opportunities for friends and family members to speak more extensively?
Yes. Such opportunities can be very healing and are encouraged outside of the Mass. If there will be visiting time at the funeral home the day before the funeral Mass, an open story-telling event can be scheduled there. It would also be appropriate to share stories at a funeral luncheon after the Mass.
Does St. Charles offer funeral luncheons?
St. Charles offers funeral luncheons for active parishioners and their immediate families, depending on the availability of the Hession Center. Volunteers from the parish bring dishes and serve the meal. Please contact the parish as soon as possible to make these arrangements.
Planning the Funeral Mass
Once the time of the funeral is established, the parish staff will contact you to set up a meeting and plan the funeral Mass. If you would like to give some thought to the readings before that meeting, you may click on the three links below. You will want to pick one reading from the Old Testament, one reading from the New Testament, and one Gospel. If you are planning the funeral of a child or a funeral during the seven weeks after Easter, we will provide you with some variations.
You may also want to think about music in advance. We offer a list of appropriate hymns and psalms, with prelude and final commendation music. Choose as many as you like… 3 or 4 hymns are used during Mass.
|from the Gather Third Edition hymnal
|All Creatures of our God and King
|Lord of All Hopefulness
|All Things New
|O God, Our Help in Ages Past
|Alleluia! Sing to Jesus
|On Eagles' Wings
|One Bread, One Body
|Be Not Afraid
|Prayer of St. Francis
|Blest Are They
|Peace is Flowing Like a River
|Center of my Life
|Precious Lord, Take my Hand
|Crown Him with Many Crowns
|Shall We Gather at the River
|Day is Done
|Shelter Me, O God
|Sing With All the Saints in Glory
|Eat This Bread
|Soon and Very Soon
|Eye Has Not Seen
|Take and Eat (Joncas)
|Faith of our Fathers
|Taste and See (Moore)
|For All the Saints
|The King of Love My Shepherd Is
|Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
|The Love of the Lord
|Hosea (Come Back to Me)
|The Strife is O'er
|How Can I Keep from Singing
|To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King
|How Great Thou Art
|Unless a Grain
|I Am the Bread of Life
|We Have Been Told
|I Have Loved You
|We Shall Rise Again
|I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
|What Wondrous Love
|I Know that my Redeemer Lives
|Without Seeing You
|Jesus Christ is Risen Today
|Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
|Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You
|You Are Mine
|Like a Shepherd
|You Are Near
|Shepherd Me, O God
|The Lord is My Shepherd
|To You, O Lord
|The Lord is My Light
|My Soul is Thirsting
|Your Love is Finer than Life
|Be With Me, Lord
|With the Lord There is Mercy
|Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled
|Hail Mary: Gentle Woman
|I Know that My Redeemer Lives
|Take Me Home
|The Lord is My Light
|Without Seeing You
|Lord Our God Receive Your Servant
|May Holy Angels Lead You
|Songs of the Angels
|Bob Dufford, S.J.
|Saints of God
|Song of Farewell
|Song of Farewell