IN SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE. . .
The words below, taken from the
Order of Christian Funerals, express the sure and certain hope of the community of Sacred Heart Parish that God, who created all men and women in love, will not fail us at the time of death.
In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity. Christ “achieved his task of redeeming humanity and giving perfect glory to God, principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension.” (
Order of Christian Funerals, No. 1)
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. (
Order of Christian Funerals, No. 4)
WHAT TO DO AT THE TIME OF DEATH
The circumstances that surround the loss of a loved one and the planning for funeral services may vary widely. Nevertheless, the arrangements typically follow this pattern in whole or in part.
- When death has occurred, the family notifies the funeral home they have selected.
- The funeral home or the family may contact Sacred Heart Parish and the process of preparing for the funeral begins.
- The family meets with the funeral home staff to make arrangements. The funeral home will call the Parish to confirm dates and times for services which typically include:
- A vigil service or recitation of the rosary at the funeral home;
- The funeral liturgy;
- The committal service at the cemetery.
- A member of the parish staff is available to meet with the family or a family representative to finalize details for the funeral services.
- The Parish will provide a musician for the funeral Mass or other service in church.
- Sacred Heart Parish is glad to be of service at this difficult time and will try to accommodate the needs and wishes of the family.
- Some funeral homes provide grief counseling following the funeral. Likewise a member of the parish staff will be happy to meet with members of the family or to provide a referral for additional assistance.
THE ORDER OF CHRISTIAN FUNERALS AT SACRED HEART PARISH
The following practical information is provided to help the family and friends of the deceased make the most suitable and helpful arrangements.
- Funeral Masses are usually scheduled at 11:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, depending on the family's preference and the parish calendar.
- The body of the deceased—with the casket open or closed—may lie in state for 30 minutes in the vestibule of the church before the Mass begins.
- An opportunity for prayer is usually scheduled at the funeral home on the day before the funeral. A vigil service (which is a simple service of prayers, a scripture reading, intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer and a blessing) is the strong preference of the church. However, the recitation of the rosary may be planned. Prayers will be led by a member of the parish or the parish staff.
- Family members are encouraged to participate fully in all the services.
- With regard to cremation, Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased; nevertheless, cremation is now permitted. The church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites and that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body present.
- The celebration of the Catholic funeral liturgy may take place in the presence of the cremated remains when the body is cremated before the funeral. In that case, the Order of Christian Funerals, No. 417, clearly states that an appropriate, worthy container such as a classic urn is proper for the cremated remains. The remains are to be properly buried in a cemetery or a columbarium (a permanent place of reposition intended specifically for cremated remains); the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea or on the ground, keeping them in the home, or dividing them among people or places is not the reverent disposition that the church requires.
- In some cases, a service in the funeral home—in lieu of a funeral Mass in the church—may be an appropriate choice. Mass may not be celebrated in the funeral home.
OPTIONS IN THE ORDER OF CHRISTIAN FUNERALS
In planning the funeral liturgy, family members have several options which they may exercise as they wish.
- Music Music chosen for the funeral liturgy may be Christian liturgical music (hymns, psalms) or most classical music. Please refer to the music selection sheet--click on the link at the left—for suggestions and return the completed sheet to the Parish Office as soon as possible.
- Placing of the Pall At the beginning of the liturgy, the pall (a white cloth) is reverently placed over the casket as a reminder of the white garment the deceased received on the day of baptism. It is appropriate for family or friends to place the pall on the casket.
- Scripture Readings The family may ordinarily choose the Scripture readings from those designated by the church for funerals. The family may ask up to three individuals to proclaim the reading(s) and the universal prayers at the funeral. It is usually best when readers have had some experience reading publicly, preferably in church. Otherwise, a parish lector may assume the responsibility for this ministry.
- The Order of Christian Funerals permits the following choices for scripture readings. There may be an Old Testament reading,or a New Testament reading, or one of each. One text, chosen from the Gospels, is always read by the priest or deacon.
- Old Testament Readings
- Job 19:1, 23-27 I know that my redeemer lives.
- Wisdom 3:1-9 The souls of the just are in the hand of God.
- Wisdom 4:7-15 The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest.
- Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9 The Lord God will destroy death forever.
- Lamentations 3:17-26 The favors of the Lord are not exhausted.
- Daniel 12:1-3 Of those who lie sleeping, many will awake.
- Maccabees 12:43-46 It is good and holy to think of the dead rising again.
- New Testament Readings
- Acts 10:34-43 In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
- Romans 5:5-11 While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:17-21 Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.
- Romans 6:3-9 Let us walk in newness of life.
- Romans 8:14-23 We wait for the redemption of our bodies.
- Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39 What will separate us from the love of Christ?
- Romans 14:7-9; 10b-12 Whether alive or dead, we belong to the Lord.
- I Cor 15:20-23, 24b-28 All people will be brought to life in Christ.
- I Cor 15:51-57 Death is swallowed up in victory.
- II Cor 4:14-5:1 The one who raised Jesus will raise us also.
- II Cor 5:1, 6-10 We walk by faith, not by sight.
- Philippians 3:20-21 Our citizenship is in heaven.
- I Thess 4:13-18 We shall stay with the Lord forever.
- II Timothy 2:8-13 If we have died with him, we shall live with him.
- I John 3:1-2 We may be called children of God; yet so we are.
- I John 3:14-16 We have passed from death to life.
- Revelation 14:13 Happy are those who die in the Lord.
- Revelation 20:11-21:1 The dead have been judged.
- Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7 I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
- Gospel Readings
- Matthew 5:1-12a Blessed are they who mourn.
- Matthew 11:25-30 Come to me…and I will give you rest.
- Matthew 25:1-13 Look, the bridegroom comes; go out to meet him.
- Matthew 25:31-46 Come, you whom my Father has blessed.
- Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-6 Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
- Luke 7:11-17 Young man, I say to you, arise.
- Luke 12:35-40 Blessed are those servants who are vigilant.
- Luke 23:33, 39-40 Today you will be with me in paradise.
- Luke 23:44-46, 50, 52-53; 24:1-6a Father, I put my life in your hands.
- Luke 24:13-35 They knew him in the breaking of the bread.
- John 5:24-29 Whoever hears and believes has eternal life.
- John 6:37-40 Everyone who believes may have eternal life.
- John 6:51-58 Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
- John 11:17-27 I am the resurrection and the life.
- John 11:32-45 Lazarus, come out.
- John 12:23-28 Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies….
- John 14:1-6 There are many rooms in my Father’s house.
- John 17:24-26 Where I am they also may be with me.
- John 19:17-18, 25-30 Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
- Presentation of the Gifts Family and/or friends may be designated to present the gifts of bread and wine. While there are usually only two items to be presented, any number of persons may participate in the presentation.
- Distribution of Communion Communion may be distributed under both forms (bread and wine) if there are eucharistic ministers among the family and friends of the deceased who wish to exercise their ministry at the funeral Mass.
- Remarks by Family or Friends Remembrances or remarks by family members or friends may be made at the funeral home or at a luncheon or reception following the funeral services. If this takes place at the funeral home, please notify the funeral director; it may precede or follow the prayer service and may include one or two speakers or may permit anyone present to speak in memory of the deceased.
- Stipends and Offerings Sacred Heart Parish neither requires nor expects a fee or donation for any funeral service aside from the $150 which is requested for the musician.
- If the family of the deceased wishes to make a donation to the parish for funeral services, it is always appreciated and accepted with gratitude. Checks should be made payable to Sacred Heart Parish, whether issued by the family or by the funeral home on behalf of the family.
- No gift to the priest or deacon involved in the funeral services is required or expected. If the family of the deceased wishes to give something to the priest or deacon, it should be given to him directly by the family and not by means of a check issued by the funeral home.
THE FUNERAL LUNCHEON
Many families plan a luncheon which follows the committal service at the cemetery (or other funeral service). Such a gathering permits fellowship, hospitality and support at a difficult time.
Your funeral director can provide information on local establishments which can accommodate funeral luncheons.
Contingent on the parish calendar, the parish hall may be available for rent for a funeral luncheon. In that case, the family must make arrangements for a caterer. The parish office can provide the names of local caterers.
NOVEMBER SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE
Each November those who have lost a loved one during the year are invited to a Service of Remembrance. In a service of prayer and music, we remember each individual by name. Invitations to register for this memorial are sent to families who have had funerals at Sacred Heart. The invitation is also published in
The Guardian during October for those who have had funerals at other locations. Everyone is welcome to participate in this service of remembrance.
PARISH BOOK OF LIFE
During the month of November the parish Book of Life is on display in the sanctuary of the church, naming those deceased family members and friends who have gone home to the Lord but remain in our hearts and in our prayers. At any time during the month you are welcome and encouraged to add to the Book of Life the names of those who are dear to you have have died.