Catholic Funeral Mass






The Catholic Funeral Mass is the supreme liturgical act to the defunct: to commend the dead to God’s merciful love, to plead for the forgiveness of his sins, and to offer support to the mourners.  Catholics may derive secondary purposes, like Grace for the souls in Purgatory, for any mass has infinite value. The mass may operate spiritual transformation in congregation members: they renew a perspective of life, move closer to God, and increase their spirituality.  Secularization challenges funeral rites, so devout Catholics should inform their families, even stipulating in their wills, the right to a Catholic Funeral Mass.

The celebrant blesses the covered casket with incense at the church entrance, to remind  congregation members their prayers are directed to Heaven, so that the deceased’s soul may ascend to God.  The casket is brought to the sanctuary front to face the paschal candle, which represents the light of Christ that dispels the darkness of death and promises eternal life.

Songs have already begun, even before the coffin is brought into the church. They focus on the Eucharist and the eternal life, and comfort the mourners. Parishes allow the family of the defunct to select sacred music and biblical readings.

The Catholic Funeral Mass does not have an eulogy because the mourners  praise God — not the defunct — pray for the deceased to reach eternal repose, and join the Redeemer  offering Himself to our Heavenly Father.  The Catholic Church claims the wake is the forum for reminiscing on the person’s life, because an eulogy is not liturgical.  Deacons often minister the liturgical service at wakes.

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6 Responses to Catholic Funeral Mass

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  2. Deacon Jim Casa says:

    I find this interesting:
    “The Catholic Funeral Mass does not have a eulogy because the mourners gather to praise God Himself, not the defunct,…”

    Yet, at just about every Funeral Mass for a bishop or priest, the homily that is delivered is about 90% eulogy that speak of the cleric’s days at seminary and such. This is unfortunate because it appears that there is a set of standards used for lay people and another used for clergy.

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  4. Deacon John Okragleski says:

    This message needs to be spread to all the Church. You are so right in saying most Catholics have gone to the funeral director for how to handle the funeral, they do not include a wake or funeral mass, to cut costs. In the mean time the family and friends never have the blessings and benefits of a proper “Catholic Burial and send off.” I had the benefit of minister to my family at the wake and funeral when my father passed away, what a time of great joy and blessing for all of us. Catholics need to turn first to there parish before someone dies, and get the arraignment’s handled by the Priest and ministry that handles funerals, so when death comes, the family and friends can benefit from the blessings given at this most difficult time, don’t wait until death comes. The eternal destination of the soul of the departed is at stake at this time.

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