If you have lost someone recently, may we offer you our deepest condolences.
It may be a small comfort to know that the departed and those who mourn them are always in our prayers.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
If you want to talk to someone about your loss, funeral arrangements in general, or perhaps to discuss your own plans, please feel free to contact the Parish Office to make an appointment with one of our priests.
Christians celebrate funeral rites to offer worship and thanksgiving to God, the author of all life. We pray for the deceased, and support the bereaved.
The model for Catholic funerals is the Easter journey of Jesus Christ from death to resurrection. This is why we are encouraged to celebrate the funeral in three stages: prayer, funeral liturgy, and committal.
Funeral arrangements are usually made in conjunction with the funeral directors engaged. They are well aware of the requirements for a Catholic funeral and work with you and the priest who will be conducting the service. We have a good relationship with all of our local funeral directors and we are used to working together.
PRAYER AND RECEPTION OF THE BODY
Following a death, it is very common for relatives or friends to contact their priest immediately. As soon as is practicable, the priest will call to say prayers with the family and friends. These prayers often take place over the body in the hospital or at the home of the person who has died. This is the first stage of the farewell journey; its mood is one of quiet support which helps to prepare the bereaved for the final leave-taking.
If the funeral liturgy is going to take place in the church, the coffin may be received into church on the night before the funeral or immediately before the service. In either case, there will be a formal reception at the church door.
If the body is received at the church the night before, the reception by the priest may be followed by a short prayer service which allows the family and/or parish community to pray for the deceased the night before the funeral. This also provides an opportunity for those who may not be able to come to the funeral to pray for the deceased with others. The form of the service is a simple Liturgy of the Word or Evening Prayer.
This is the main celebration of the Christian community for the deceased person. It is usually celebrated in the parish church where the local community gathers for Sunday Mass. Sometimes people may celebrate the Funeral Liturgy in a crematorium or cemetery chapel. Two forms are possible: a funeral Mass, (also called the Requiem Mass) or a funeral liturgy outside Mass.
The Church encourages a Mass since our celebration of the Eucharist remembers and celebrates Christ’s own death and resurrection. However, while the Mass is our central liturgy, it is not always the best option for every funeral.
The rite of committal usually follows on immediately from the funeral liturgy. This final act of leave-taking is celebrated at the graveside or at the crematorium. When a body is cremated the funeral liturgy is concluded with the interring of ashes sometime afterwards.
While we are encouraged to celebrate a funeral over these three stages, for a variety of good reasons this model is not always possible or appropriate to the circumstances. Many combinations of funeral rites are possible. The funeral may even comprise a single act of worship either in the cemetery chapel or at the crematorium.
Music and Readings
Most of us are rarely asked to choose music or readings for a church service and may not know where to begin. To help choose music that is appropriate to a Catholic funeral, the Catholic Liturgy Office of England & Wales have put together some suggestions in the Order of Christian Funerals: Some Music Suggestions.
Some ideas for readings have also been provided in the Order of Christian Funerals: Lectionary Readings.
Remember, we are here to help, please contact us on 333581 if you would like help and guidance in selecting readings and music for the funeral of your loved one.
Lord, in our grief we turn to you.
Are you not the God of love always ready to hear our cries?
Listen to our prayers for your servant whom you have called out of this world:
Lead them to your Kingdom of light and peace and count them among the saints in glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
We will help you. The priest or deacon that you are liaising with will be happy to explain to you what the options are and to guide you in making choices. In addition, planning guides are available which contain the choice or readings and prayers, please contact the parish office or speak to the priest or deacon.
With regards to practical arrangements outside of church, your chosen funeral directors will guide you.
More than you think. Not only can you choose hymns but also scripture readings and prayers.
No. In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the word of God. The readings proclaim to the assembly the paschal mystery, teach remembrance of the dead and convey the hope of being gathered together again in God’s kingdom and encourage witness of Christian life. Above all, the scripture readings tell of God’s designs for a world in which suffering and death will relinquish their hold on those God has called.
However, an appropriate poem or reflection may be read after the eulogy, provided that it is short and is in accord with the Christian hope of eternal life. However, the most appropriate place for a favoured poem or reflection is to print it at the end of the service sheet. In this way, those who attend the funeral are able to treasure it afterwards.
Music is an important part of Catholic funeral rites. Music allows convictions and feelings to be expressed that words alone may fail to convey. Music has the power to strengthen the faith and hope of those present. The hymns chosen should express the mystery of our salvation in Christ, namely, the saving power of the Lord's suffering, death and resurrection. Funeral music should support, console, and uplift those present and help create in them a spirit of hope in Christ's victory over death and in the Christian's share in that victory.
Secular songs (pop songs/non-religious songs), even though they may have been meaningful to the deceased or the family, do not capture the Gospel message of hope nor the sacred quality of Christian worship, and so secular songs are not appropriate for funeral services. The most appropriate time for these it at the funeral reception or at the gathering of family and friends the evening before the funeral.
Yes, the Church provides a special service within its collection of liturgies Order of Christian Funerals. It can also be adapted for parents who have suffered a miscarriage.
Yes. However, the Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased. If cremation is chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area which has been set aside and dedicated for this purpose. The scattering of ashes in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way is not permitted, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewellery or other objects.
Next of kin, if not present
Family doctor, if the person dies at home
Funeral director, if the family is using one (the deceased may already have made arrangements)
In addition, if you are called to someone who has died unexpectedly or in unusual circumstances, the police will need to be informed. Do not touch or move anything in the room.
If the cause of death is clear, the doctor will issue a medical certificate and a formal notice confirming that he or she has signed the death certificate. This notice gives information on how to register the death and will enable funeral arrangements to be made.
The death will need to be registered within five days unless it has been reported to the coroner. In Salisbury, deaths are registered at the Salisbury Registration Office, Bourne Hill, Salisbury, SP1 3UZ.
If the doctor reports the death to the coroner, there may be a delay while a post mortem or inquest is carried out. The coroner’s office will advise you on what arrangements may be made.
If the family wishes to use a funeral director, it is quite proper to invite estimates from different firms.
There may be a fee for an organist or other musician and an offering to the parish is customary. Where the family uses a funeral director these may be included automatically in the account, though the family is free to make its own arrangements.