Funeral

The Funeral Liturgy (The Mass)

Thornton CO Funeral Services And Cremations

Do we really have to have a Funeral Mass (or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass)?   What if no one is going to come?   These are two questions I often receive from individuals when I discuss funerals with them.   The answer is a strong YES!  While the Funeral Mass is partially for the living, it is more so for the deceased.  There are graces for the decedent that come in having a Funeral Liturgy.  This is the last opportunity for your body to be present in front of the Eucharist – the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ.   Yes, you want to have a Funeral Liturgy.   Yes, when possible and feasible, you want to have a Funeral Mass.

As the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, it should be of no surprise that the Funeral Liturgy is the central part of the Order of Christian Funerals.  While you can utilize the Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass for specific reasons, the Funeral Mass is the typical and ordinary form of liturgy used within the Order of Christian Funerals.  The Funeral Mass is always the preferred liturgy.  Whether you have a traditional casket burial or a cremation burial, individuals can have a funeral Mass.  That said, the preference is always to have the full body present.  This means the preference is to have cremation take place following the Mass.

Those attending a Funeral Mass will find it very similar to their Sunday Mass with a few additions.  You have the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.   If this is the first time the body is coming into the Church, the Rite of Reception takes place at the start of the Mass.  During this rite, a pall is placed on the casket and the casket is blessed with holy water prior to processing to the front of the church.  However, if the body is cremated, the pall is not utilized.  After the Liturgy of the Eucharist; the Funeral Mass ends with Commendation Prayers.   This Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass has most of the same components except the Liturgy of the Eucharist is omitted.

Often, people ask if they can have a eulogy at the Funeral Liturgy.  The Archdiocese of Denver does allow for one short eulogy just prior to the Commendation Prayers, and it must be noted that the ideal time for the eulogies is at the Vigil.

The focus of the Funeral Liturgy is on God’s love for us.  There is no greater example of His love than Jesus dying on the cross for each of us.   This is what we celebrate at every Mass.  We have one final opportunity to participate in this celebration at our Funeral Mass.  Do you really want to miss out on that celebration?   I don’t!   I don’t want to miss the opportunity for the graces that come forth, nor the opportunity for my loved one to fill the void of loss with faith.

Deacon Marc Nestorick
Outreach Manager
Catholic Funeral & Cemetery Services of Colorado

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