“A well-planned funeral helps you know ‘what to do’ when you do not know what to do.” – Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, fromUnderstanding Your Grief
The Rite of Christian Burial is rich in tradition and ritual. While we tend to focus on the funeral Mass, the Rite of Christian Burial consist of three liturgies, the Vigil for the Deceased (wake service), the Funeral Liturgy (Mass) and theRite of Committal (burial). Each has a distinctive purpose and aids in the process of healthy grieving.
Rich in history and ritual, the Catholic funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge the reality of death, provides support to mourners, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages the expression of grief in ways consistent with our values, allows for the embracing of faith and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.
If your loved one is in the process of dying, please call the church so that we can help you during this difficult time.
Pre-planning a funeral is an option we offer at Our Lady of Lourdes. If you wish to do so, call Joline at 908-534-2319 x 12.
The Church's Thoughts on Cremation
What Funeral rites are celebrated when a person is cremated?
The Church strongly prefers that the cremation take place after the full Funeral liturgy with the body. However, when this is not possible, such as when the remains must be transported over a long distance, all the usual rites, which are celebrated with a body present, may also be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. In an appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals, the United States bishops have included prayers to be used when the cremated remains of a loved one are present in church.
The following rituals may be celebrated:
• Prayers After Death
• Gathering in the Presence of the Body
• Vigil for the Deceased
• Funeral Mass • Rite of Committal
Should I schedule a Funeral Mass before or after cremation?
The Church strongly prefers cremations to take place after the Funeral Mass. However, if it is not possible for the body to be present at the Funeral Mass, an indult has been granted by the Holy See which provides for the celebration of the Mass or Funeral liturgy with the cremated remains in church.
What happens at the Funeral Mass with cremated remains?
A journey, which began at baptism, comes to conclusion as we enter into eternal life. Significant attention should be given to the primary symbols of the Catholic Funeral liturgy, as stated in the Order of Christian Funerals and its commentaries. The paschal candle and sprinkling with holy water are primary symbols of baptism and are used during the Funeral Mass. However, the pall is not used. Photos and other mementos may be used at the vigil, but are not appropriate for the Mass. During the Funeral Mass, the cremated remains should be treated with the same dignity and respect as the body. They are to be sealed in a worthy vessel. They are carried in procession and placed on a table adjacent to the Easter candle.
How much time elapses from the Funeral Mass until the remains are interred in the columbarium?
If the body is present at the Funeral Mass, the funeral director will advise you on the time necessary to cremate the body. Usually, it is a day or two. The internment then follows. If the cremated remains are present at the Funeral Mass, typically interment immediately follows the Mass.
Is a ritual conducted when the remains are interred in the columbarium?
Yes. The Rite of Committal is very similar to the service conducted at a grave site in a cemetery.