We offer condolences on the loss of your loved one. We realize that this is a difficult time, and we want to be a source of assistance and support. The guidelines provided in these webpages are offered as a resource for planning the various stations, or parts, of the funeral for your loved one. Please take note of the Cathedral Bereavement Ministry and other support programs that we offer as part of our Parish Ministry. They may be a source of comfort for you and your family.
Know that your loved one will be remembered in the prayers of our parishioners and at Masses during the week of your loved one’s funeral. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you, not only during these days, but in the period of grief that follows.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Msgr. Rick Woy
About the Bereavement Ministry:
The Bereavement Ministry will provide liturgical, logistical, and spiritual support to families as they plan funerals for a loved one, will assist during the funeral service, and will provide post-funeral support.
Specific tasks the Bereavement Ministry will complete include:
- Provide funeral coordination support and planning to families, in conjunction with the parish office staff
- Make contact with the families after receiving notice of death or prior to death in conjunction with parish visitation ministry to home-bound and sick parishioners
- Provide day-of funeral support, including greeters, Eucharistic Ministers, etc. as needed
- Communicate with family post-funeral to assure them of parish support through phone, email, and personal note communications
- Invite family of deceased to All Souls Day Celebration honoring their loved ones
Bereavement Team Leaders
- Gary Getz
- Kathleen Getz
- Carolyn Knott
- Frank Knott
- Tom Peddicord
An Overview of the Catholic Funeral
The Catholic funeral rite is divided into several stations, or parts, each with its own purpose. For this reason, we recommend following the complete structure and making use of each station.
Vigil Service (Wake)
The Vigil Service usually takes place during the period of visitation and viewing at the funeral home. It is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God. In prayer, we ask God to console us in our grief and give us strength to support one another.
The Vigil Service can take the form of a Service of the Word with readings from Sacred Scripture accompanied by reflection and prayers. It can also take the form of one of the prayers of the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of Hours. The clergy and your funeral director can assist in planning the service.
It is most appropriate, when family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, we encourage eulogies to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.
The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. When a Mass cannot be celebrated, a funeral liturgy outside Mass can be celebrated at the church or in the funeral home.
At the funeral Mass, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral Mass, therefore, is an act of worship, and not merely an expression of grief.
Rite of Committal (Burial or Internment)
The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of internment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer, but see God face-to-face. Questions about the format of the committal service can be answered by the celebrant.
Planning the Funeral Liturgy
The process of grieving and mourning may be aided by participating in the preparation and planning of the funeral rites for a loved one. This gesture of care will allow the funeral to be an expression of one’s own grief at a time of loss, as well as one’s faith in Jesus and His cross and resurrection. Attention to details that follow will also aid the priests and the staff at the Cathedral in our ministry to family and friends of the deceased.
The normal structure of the funeral Mass is as follows:
- Seating of family members
- Gathering Hymn and Procession
- Reception of the Body
- Greeting and Introduction
- Sprinkling of the Body with Holy Water
- Placing of the Pall
- Placing of Christian Symbols (optional)
- Opening Prayer
- Liturgy of the Word
- Old Testament Reading
- Responsorial Psalm (sung)
- New Testament Reading
- Gospel Acclamation (sung)
- Gospel Reading
- Prayer of the Faithful
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Presentation of the Gifts
- Eucharistic Prayer (with sung acclamations)
- The Lord’s Prayer and the Sign of Peace
- Prayer after Communion
- Final Commendation
- Song of Farewell and Incensation of the Body
- Prayer of Commendation
- Procession to the Place of Committal and Closing Hymn
Lectors: It is proper for a lay person to proclaim the First and Second Readings from Scripture and to announce the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. The nature of the word of God requires that such persons be persons of faith and effective public speakers. It is appropriate that readers be people other than immediate family members. Lectors should be given copies of the readings in advance so they can practice their readings.
Placing of the Funeral Pall: It is our custom to place a pall, a decorated white cloth, on the casket at the beginning of the funeral Mass as a reminder of the garment given at Baptism, thereby signifying life in Christ. Since the deceased would have been dressed in his or her baptismal garment by his or her parents and godparents, the family may wish to participate in this ritual gesture at the funeral.
Scripture Readings: It is appropriate to assist the celebrant in choosing texts from Sacred Scripture for the funeral Mass. Normally, four Scripture Readings are chosen: one from the Old Testament, one from the psalms, one from the New Testament – epistles, and one from the Gospels. Suggested Scripture passages are listed in the Funeral planning packet (top of this page).
Offertory Procession: It is appropriate for members of the family to carry the gifts of bread and wine for the Eucharist. This symbolizes the offering of ourselves and the offering of the deceased back to God.
Music for the Funeral: Music plays an integral part in the liturgy of the Church, and at funerals it allows the community to express convictions and feelings that words alone may not convey. Music has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The Cathedral Director of Music Ministry and his staff take great care in selecting and presenting music that creates a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and sin and in the Christian’s share in that victory. The Cathedral Organist/Director of Music and a Cathedral Cantor are provided for the funeral Mass. Family members may wish to discuss musical selections for the funeral Mass with the Director. Due to the sacred nature of the liturgy, not all music is appropriate for use at the funeral Mass. Please contact the Director of Music Ministry directly to discuss any needs you have in regard to music.
Suggested music selections are listed in the Funeral Planning Packet (top of this page).
Programs: A simple program for the funeral liturgy is provided by the Cathedral. The program is based on the information provided by the family. A more elaborate program can be provided by the family, however, the program must be reviewed by both the priest and music director before it is printed. It is customary to include a prayer on the last page of the program.
Altar Servers: Altar servers for funerals are provided by the Cathedral.
Visiting Clergy: We welcome the participation of clergy who are friends or relatives. If a visiting priest is to be the celebrant for the funeral, please share these guidelines with him at the time arrangements are made. Visiting clergy should also contact the Cathedral clergy to discuss arrangements.
Eulogies: The grieving process necessarily includes time to remember the life of the deceased. In the Catholic funeral rite, this is most appropriately done during the time of visitation or even at the Vigil (Wake) Service. Since the funeral Mass is primarily the time for praise and thanks for God’s gift of new life in Jesus, we discourage the inclusion of a eulogy at the Mass. In accordance with Archdiocesan policy, if a eulogy is to be included at the funeral Mass, there can be only one speaker, the reflection of no more than three minutes long must be presented to the celebrant in writing in advance of the funeral Mass.
Flowers: It is appropriate to bring floral arrangements from the funeral home to the Cathedral for placement in the Sanctuary during the funeral Mass. Please discuss what is appropriate and effective with the funeral director.
The Church and Cremation: The Christian faithful are confronted with the mystery of life and death in the presence of the body of one who has died. Moreover, the body which lies in death naturally recalls the personal story of faith, the loving family bonds, the friendships, and the words and acts of the deceased person. The body of a deceased Catholic Christian is also the body once washed in Baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the Bread of Life. Thus, the Church’s reverence for the sacredness of the human body grows out of a reverence and concern both natural and supernatural for the human person.
While cremation is now permitted by the Church, it is our recommendation that cremation, when chosen, take place after the funeral rites, so that our acts of prayer and worship in grief may take place in the presence of the body as one final act of love and respect for the deceased. When it is not possible to delay cremation until after the funeral rites are celebrated, the cremated remains of the deceased may be brought to the Church for the funeral Mass provided there is an appropriate plan for their internment. The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they came. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes and a respectful manner of internment.
Seating Capacity: Funerals can be celebrated in the main body of the Cathedral (capacity 1,400) or in the Lady Chapel (capacity 120), located behind the main Sanctuary at the west end of the Cathedral.
The Shepherd Guides: The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen wants members of our parish family to know that they are not forgotten after the funeral. Every family that loses a loved one receives a set of “Shepherd Guides” to help the family through significant days during the year after loss. Each guide includes a comforting message and Scripture passage to help ease the pain of living through the first year without the loved one.