Catholic Funerals in the Parish of the Holy Spirit

Celebrating the life of someone close to us is a very important aspect of our honouring their memory. The Catholic Church offers very beautiful liturgies to farewell the dead and commend them to God – either through a Requiem Mass or a Funeral Service.

While our own funeral is not something that we would necessarily like to think about, we strongly recommend that you do take the time to plan key elements of your own funeral, and leave specific instructions for family and the priest. Planning funerals can be a stressful experience for the grieving family, and anything you can do to make it easier for them is to be encouraged. The things in particular that will be helpful are the Scripture readings you would like and the hymns. (It is not appropriate to specify the priest you would like to celebrate your funeral, as they may not be available on the day.)

In general, the following points need to be understood:

  • It is better for the parish to be notified directly by the family, rather than by the funeral director (though this may not always be possible). The time and format of the funeral liturgy must be decided in consultation with the priest.
  • You may also wish to have a Vigil Service the night before, in the church – either a rosary, or a less-structured service, including readings, hymns, prayers, a decade of the rosary, and some sharing. A priest or religious sister might be present for this.
  • If it is not your wish to have a Requiem Mass, you may prefer to have a simpler funeral liturgy (or service). This would include:
    • Hymns
    • Eulogy
    • Scripture Readings
    • Prayers of the Faithful
    • Final Commendation
  • This service could still be led for you by a priest. While there is more latitude with such a service, it must still be prayerful and appropriate.
  • Live music is always best. If you choose to have a song from a CD, it must be appropriate in a church setting.
  • It is appropriate to give the celebrant a gratuity or koha. The funeral director is happy to arrange this for you.