The church through its funeral rites:
- Celebrates the life and faith of the deceased.
- Expresses the church's belief in the Communion of Saints.
- Recognizes the spiritual bond that exists between the living and the dead.
- Brings hope and consolation to the bereaved.
- Reminds the faithful to turn to God in time of need and crisis.
- Seeks God's mercy and love.
- Nourishes the faith of the bereaved.
- Acknowledges that the deceased benefit from our prayers.
Planning for funeral rites:
- Every member of the faithful should make known to family and friends his or her preferences for Catholic funeral rites.
- Instructions should be left with a responsible party so that one's wishes will be carried out.
- When the Eucharist is celebrated in the context of the funeral process proper to the Order of Christian Funerals, it is rightly called a Funeral Mass, whether or not the body or even the cremated remains is present..
At the time of death:
- Family members of the deceased should contact the parish as well as the funeral director.
- Pastors should meet with the family of the deceased as soon as possible to console and comfort and offer services of the parish to the bereaved.
- Family members should be designated to work with the parish priest or with members of the parish bereavement committee in planning Funeral Rites.
- The parish must ensure that all options concerning the Funeral Rites are explained to the family, as well as all information concerning the church's teaching on cremation.
- The choir director or organist will assist the family in the selection of appropriate hymns..
Liturgical participation of the family at the Funeral Mass:
- Since the funeral rites are celebrations of the church, participation of all present through prayer, responses and song is the desired norm.
- Immediate family members may place the pall on the casket.
- Family members may place symbols of faith -- crucifix, Bible, etc -- on the pall covered casket.
- Family members who are lectors in their own parishes or who are able to proclaim Scripture well may proclaim the readings at the Funeral Mass.
- Family members may bring forward the gifts of bread and wine at the Presentation of the Gifts.
- Eulogies may be given, but only in accordance with Diocesan Guidelines.
General points for catehesis:
- The understanding of death as a stage of our life of faith.
- The purpose of funeral rites in celebrating the faith and life of the deceased.
- The purpose of funeral rites in affirming our own belief in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
- The meaning and importance of the Communion of Saints.
- The importance of praying for the dead with "month's Mind" (30 days after death) or other Memorial Masses.
- The church's teaching on the resurrection of the body.
- The church's teaching on the use of cremation.