Christian Death: the Catholic Funeral
The Church encourages us to prepare for the hour of our death: in the litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: ‘From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord’; to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us ‘at the hour of our death’ in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1014)
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.
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.
Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral. (Order of Christian Funerals: General Introduction (Paragraphs 1, 4 & 5))
Funerals at Our Lady & St. Anne
When a relative or loved one dies and you wish to arrange his/her funeral, it is customary in England & Wales to take the following steps:
- Get in touch with a Funeral Director/Undertaker
- The Funeral Director/Undertaker usually contacts the parish re. availability of the priest and the optimal time for a Requiem Mass or funeral service.
- The parish priest will come and visit the bereaved family to discuss the funeral, talk about the deceased and make further practical arrangements concerning the liturgy. The same is the case if the family opt for a cremation.
- It is possible for the remains to be brought to church the night before the Requiem Mass.
- The parish priest will notify the parish Bereavement Support Group who, if desired, will contact the family and, again should that be desired, keep in touch with the family after the funeral and support them in their period of mourning.
- All fees etc. are arranged through the Funeral Director.
The funeral directors who usually serve Our Lady & St. Anne are:
Archbishop Bernard Longley’s Pastoral Letter is available here, and on the Diocesan website – Pastoral Letter 7th July 2019
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