“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” (Order of Christian Funerals, #1).
The Funeral Rites offer three distinct but cohesive rituals to help those going through through the various stages of grief following the death of a loved one.
- Vigil (Wake): As the family gathers to wake their loved one, someone from the church will offer Vigil Prayers. Usually we do this before official calling hours begin, but sometimes it is done during the Wake. In this Rite, the whole Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer and finds strength in the presence of Christ. The prayers include a greeting, invocation, a reading from Scripture, intercessions, the Our Father and a blessing.
- Liturgy of Christian Burial (Funeral): This ritual is a liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. The community gives praise to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, and commends the deceased to God’s tender mercy. The rite can be celebrated within Mass, or in a simpler manner as a Liturgy of the Word, with final commendation and farewell.
- Committal Prayers (Cemetery): Following the Funeral Liturgy it is customary to go to the cemetery for committal prayers. If we are going to our cemetery, the ground has already been blessed; otherwise we would bless the ground, pray over the casket or urn, offer intercessions and the Our Father and invoke God's blessings.
Here at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish, we are blessed by the work of our Bereavement Ministers who meet with families soon after the death of a loved one to help them in the planning of the prayers and readings for the Funeral Mass. Families can expect to hear from one of our Bereavement Ministers within a day after the death of a loved one, as well as one of our Music Directors to help with the planning of music. Our Bereavement Ministers are: Ms. Sheila Viale and Ms. Carol Lombardo.