The Church Service
The Funeral Mass takes place in the church. Here the community of faith assembles for worship. Christian life is initiated in Baptism and nourished with the Eucharist. Here the community gathers with the bereaved family to commend one of its deceased members to the Heavenly Father.
At the church, the deceased is received, sprinkled with holy water, and covered with a white pall (all reminiscent of Baptism, the sacrament that brought the deceased into a relationship with the Christian community.
The family is encouraged once again to select appropriate Scripture readings that reflect the lived faith of the deceased and participate in their proclamation. The celebrant breaks open the Scriptural readings to help the bereaved connect the life and death of their beloved with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Eucharist then continues in the normal fashion until the final prayers where the deceased is commended to God’s mercy. The family and parish community express their farewell to one who no longer will physically join them at the Eucharistic altar. All join in prayer that the deceased will be welcomed to the heavenly banquet at the Lord’s table.
Before this final commendation begins, a family member or friend may speak in remembrance of the deceased, but this is optional. Words of remembrance at this time are not a eulogy, bu t rather a short prayerful recollection of some aspect of the Christian life of the deceased. The procession to the place of committal follows the final commendation.