Funeral Mass

The Funeral Liturgy

The Funeral Liturgy is composed of the Vigil, usually the afternoon or evening before the funeral; the Funeral Mass and the Final Committal and Commendation at the cemetery. 

Over twenty years ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) produced a revision in the Order of Christian Funerals (Funeral Rites). A major trust of the changes and revisions was to invoke a greater sense of participation by family members and friends of the deceased. Locally, the Archdiocese of Boston has instituted “Guidelines for the Celebration of the Funeral Mass,” ensuring that the Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated with grace, dignity and respect.

The following outline will guide you through the Funeral Liturgy and highlight those moments in the liturgy when your participation is invited.

Suggestions for music are provided to assist you in preparing the Liturgy. If you wish, our Music Director will make appropriate selections for you.

Introductory Rites

The casket is brought into the church; the family and mourners follow. All national symbols (i.e. the American flag) are removed (and replaced at the conclusion of the funeral liturgy). At the break in the aisle, the priest will greet the family and will sprinkle the casket with holy water to ser as a reminder of Baptism.

The family then places the PALL on the casket (The Pall is a large white cloth that serves as a symbolic reminder of the garment that was presented to the deceased at Baptism).

The Liturgy of the Word

ONE reading from the Old Testament is to be selected by the family of the deceased and may be proclaimed by a family member or a friend of the deceased. (1 participant) ONE reading from the New Testament is to be selected by the family of the deceased and may be proclaimed by a family member or friend of the deceased. (1 participant) The PRIEST or a deacon will select and proclaim the Gospel and will preach a Homily.

The Preparation Rites

The gifts of Bread and Wine are placed on a table near the front of the Church. At the appointed time, the priest will invited members of the family to carry the gifts with reverence and dignity and present them to the priest.

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