Planning Your Loved One’s Funeral Liturgy
The Church encourages you to be as fully involved as you can in planning your loved one’s funeral liturgy. It is the final journey of your loved one. In the liturgy, we celebrate the life of faith of your loved one; we commend him or her to the Lord, we support and pray for all those who mourn, and we seek strength in the promise of the Lord that He will not forget His own.
In planning the liturgy you will need to:
Choose from among family members and friends those who would like to do the reading(s), recite the psalm and take part in the prayers of intercession. Also, please provide the chief celebrant priest with some biographical information about your deceased loved one that will help him prepare the funeral homily.
Select the readings for the funeral Mass. Depending on the circumstances, you may decide to either one or two readings before the gospel. You will find a large selection of suitable readings in the “Funeral Mass Preparation Booklet” (available from the Parish Office). But you are free to choose others. Should you decide to have two readings, it is preferable to have a different reader for each. (e.g. Old Testament Readings – Job 19:1,23-27 ; Wisdom 3:1-9 ; Job 4:7-15 ; Isaiah 25:6-9. New Testament Readings – Romans 5:5-11 ; Romans 5:17-21 ; Romans 6:3-9 ; Romans 8:14-23 ; Romans 8:31-35, 37-39 ; Romans 14:7-12 ;Corinthians 15:20-28 ; Corinthians 5:1, 6-10 ; Thessalonians 4:13-18; Philippians 3:20-21 ; Letter of St John 3:1-2).
Select the responsorial psalm, which comes between the first and second readings. Again, there are many suitable responsorial psalms in the above booklet but you are free to choose others. In making your choice, please bear in mind thet the reponse to the psalm may be sung. (e.g. Psalm 22, Psalm 23, Psalm 83, Psalm 41, Psalm 26).
Choose or compose the general intercessions, which come after homily. In the general intercessions we pray not only for the deceased and his or her family, but also for all the dead and those who mourn them, and for the needs of the wider community. One or more family members should read the general intercessions. (There are a number of suggested prayers of the faithful to be found at the back of the Booklet).
Choose family members or friends of the deceased to bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. You should keep in mind, though, that the presentation of the gifts is probably not the time to carry up personal memorabilia or symbols of the life of the deceased. The best time is at the beginning of the Mass.
Choose the hymns and music for the funeral Mass. The hymns should be selected from those regularly sung during Sunday Mass, and should express our strong belief in the resurrection, which is the basis of Christian hope. They should not include favourite secular songs or music of the deceased, which are not appropriate for a funeral liturgy.
If you decide to have a eulogy in honour of your deceased loved one, there are a number of things to keep in mind. It should be short, no longer than 5 minutes; it should be delivered by a family member or close friend of the deceased; it should contain only words of tribute to the deceased and of thanks to those who have helped or supported the deceased’s family during this time; it should take place after the communion, before the final commendation and farewell.
After The Funeral
The Memorial Mass
It is traditional in many parishes to have a Memorial Mass or Month’s Mind for the deceased in the weeks following the funeral. The Month’s Mind is an opportunity to once again commend the deceased to our loving God. It is celebrated in an atmosphere of prayerful remembrance, of gratitude for those who have offered sympathy and of hope in the resurrection.
These include Bethany Bereavement (provides support counselling. Ph 01 2801669); Rainbow Ireland (support group for children of bereaved families. Ph 01 4734175); Irish Sudden Infant Death Association (Ph 1850 391391 & 01 8732711)