Gathering together to praise and thank God for Christ’s victory of sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery.
An Overview Of Catholic Funeral Rites
“At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of Baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end, nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”
The Catholic funeral rite is divided into several stations, or parts, each with its own purpose. For this reason, we recommend following the complete structure and making use of each station.
Vigil Service (Wake)
“At the vigil, the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 56). The Vigil Service usually takes place during the period of visitation and viewing at the funeral home. It is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God. In prayer we ask God to console us in our grief and give us strength to support one another.
The Vigil Service can take the form of a Service of the Word with readings from Sacred Scripture accompanied by reflection and prayers. It can also take the form of one of the prayers of the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours. The clergy and your funeral director can assist in planning such service.
It is most appropriate, when family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, eulogies are usually encouraged to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.
The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated, a funeral liturgy outside Mass can be celebrated at the church or in the funeral home. There are no Masses in Funeral Homes.
At the funeral liturgy, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral liturgy, therefore, is an act of worship, and not merely an expression of grief.
Rite of Committal (Burial or Interment)
The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer, but see God face-to-face.
Planning, Preparing, and Holding A Funeral at St. Peter Church
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord… and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, Rest in Peace.
Typically, when a loved one passes away, working with the funeral home, the parish is contacted and the priest is chosen for Mass or liturgy outside of Mass. The priest then schedules the date and time of the funeral liturgy.
For your convenience you can download a Funeral Workbook to assist you in planning the funeral liturgy.
- First Reading During Easter Season
- First Reading Outside Easter Season
- Responsorial Psalm
- Second Reading
- Gospel Readings
Our Funeral Luncheon Committee can provide a luncheon for family and friends after the Mass or burial. The Committee handles the meal preparation, serving, and clean-up for the lunch. Family provides meat products. While there is no charge for this service, a donation would be appreciated. Discuss this detail with the presider at the family arrangement meeting.
One of the most important things we can do for our loved one who passes away is to pray for them. Please be assured of the St. Peter Parish prayers for your loved one and your family.
Seasons of Hope Grief Support Group
A free program designed for those suffering grief from the loss of a loved one. St. Peter Catholic Church Grief Support Group offers to walk with you through your grief in a group or individual setting. Each Session meets for six weeks. Please call Myra Rosskopf Wolfe at (573) 634-7889 or Kathleen at the Parish Office at (573) 636-8159 for more information or to reserve a spot in this Christ-centered, grief sharing group designed to help you cope with your grief experience.