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. Christ “achieved his task of redeeming humanity and giving perfect glory to God, principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead and glorious ascension. – Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Saint Benedict the Abbot Parish is privileged and honored to assist the families of the deceased as they prepare a meaningful and fitting Funeral Mass for their loved ones. Upon the death of a loved one the funeral director will be in touch with the parish and together, with the family, decide on an appropriate time for the Funeral Mass and burial.
Family Participation in the Funeral Liturgy
Funerals at Saint Benedict’s, are planned and celebrated so that the family members of the deceased have the opportunity to feel the consoling and healing presence of God in their lives. A celebration that life for the deceased has changed, not ended.
Family members and their friends are encouraged to actively participate in this new phase of their loved one’s journey. Prior to the funeral, families are invited to attend a meeting with the priest who will celebrate the Funeral Mass, and the Music Director. During this time of prayer and remembrance the family is encouraged to help choose the scripture readings and music for the Liturgy; and select family members or friends who may wish to serve in the Liturgy as a lector and/or by presenting the bread and wine to the altar. Family members may also place the funeral pall (white cloth) on the casket prior to entering the church. We ask that any Eulogies be saved for events after the funeral.
Viewings and Visitation
If a family decides that they wish to have a viewing or visitation at the church prior to the Funeral Mass, family members and friends are more than welcome to gather in the church.
The Liturgy of the Word
The Liturgy of the Word is one of the principal parts of the Funeral Mass. It includes two Scripture texts in addition to a sung Responsorial Psalm, a sung Gospel acclamation, and the Gospel itself. Only selections from Sacred Scripture may be used. There are several Scripture reading options for the Funeral Mass. In the meeting with the Priet, both he and the Music Director will assist the family in selecting those that are most appropriate. It is expected that the readings will be proclaimed directly from the Lectionary for the Mass. The Liturgy of the Word also includes the Universal Prayer (the General Intercessions/Petitions).
The music at a Funeral Mass is chosen to bring solace and consolation to those who mourn the loss of a loved one, and to reflect our Catholic belief in the Resurrection of the Dead through the grace of Baptism. Therefore, music that is selected must fulfill this purpose and be appropriate to the liturgical action taking place. The music director will guide the family in choosing appropriate hymns during the planning meeting. Music of a secular nature is not appropriate for the Mass. Such music would be appropriate (even played electronically) during the visitation at the Funeral Home or during a post-funeral luncheon.
Saint Benedict the Abbot Church will provide printed programs that contain the Order of the Mass, reading citations, the responses, and hymns to assist the families and attendees (both Catholic and non-Catholic) in actively participating in the Mass.
For Catholics: As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed the receive Holy Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (Code of Canon Law, canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encourage for all.
For Our Fellow Christians: We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions, which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (John 17:21).
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Members of Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these churches. (Canon 844-3).
For those not receiving Communion: All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
For Non-Christians: We also welcome to the celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for peace and unity of the human family.
Words of Remembrance
Occasionally a member of the family will request the opportunity to offer Words of Remembrance on behalf of the deceased. Our parish strongly recommends that Words of Remembrance are most appropriately and effectively delivered at the time of the Vigil Service or at the post-funeral luncheon. Remembrances offered at this time allow a more casual reflection of their loved one.
The St. Benedict Parish Social Hall, when available, may be used for post-funeral luncheons. This facility is located across the street from the church and is wheelchair accessible. It can seat as many as 200 people. Any and all arrangements are made through the Parish Office at the time of the funeral planning.
Collaboration with the Funeral Home
There are many arrangements to be made and details to be handled following the death of a loved one and in preparation for the funeral rites. Some of these elements are handled by a licensed funeral director and some are handled by the parish staff. Saint Benedict Parish sees our ministry and work as a true collaboration with the funeral home staff to ensure the best pastoral and profession care is provided.