Why do we celebrate the funeral rites?
In the funeral rites, we pray for the deceased, entrusting them to God's mercy and care. We honor the body. We comfort the living in their grief. We celebrate the funeral rites not only for the dead, but also for the living.
Is cremation permitted by the Catholic Church?
Since 1963, the Church has permitted cremation, as long as the Church's teaching on the resurrection of the body is upheld. Respectful final disposition of the cremated remains involves interment or entombment. Burial options include a family grave in a cemetery marked with a traditional memorial stone or an urn garden, a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns.
How are the rites celebrated for someone who chooses cremation?
The Church prefers that the body be present for the Funeral Liturgy and cremated following the Final Commendation of the Liturgy. If there is a serious reason, it may be possible to celebrate the Funeral Liturgy in the presence of cremated remains.
What rites can be used for miscarried or stillborn infants?
"Funeral Rites may be celebrated for children whose parents intended them to be Baptized, but who died before Baptism. In these celebrations the Christian community entrusts the child to God's all-embracing love." (Order of Christian Funeral #237)
What rites can be used for a suicide victim?
This person is entrusted to God's love and mercy and is therefore entitled to the usual Funeral Rites.
What is done for lapsed Catholics?
By virtue of Baptism, this person is entitled to the prayers of the Church, including Funeral Rites.
What is the proper place for the Funeral Rites?
The vigil service is celebrated in the presence of the body either in the funeral home or the Parish Church the night before. The Funeral Mass is always celebrated in the Church. The Committal Rite is preferably celebrated at the grave or tomb.
What is the Rite of Committal?
The Rite of Committal is the third station of the Catholic funeral liturgy, after the Vigil (usually the day or night before the funeral) and the Funeral Mass (or Funeral Liturgy outside Mass). It is normally celebrated at the site of burial.
The rite begins with an invitation to prayer, followed by a Scripture verse, for which there are several options. Then comes the Prayer over the Place of Committal, with seven text options. Next comes the Committal itself, for which there are also seven text options.
Then come the intercessions (four text options), the Lord's Prayer, a Concluding Prayer (five), the Prayer over the People, with two forms of the final blessing, depending on whether the minister is a cleric or not, and a dismissal.
A song may conclude the rite. Where it is the custom, some sign or gesture of leave-taking may be made.
Why is the grave or tomb the preferred site for the Rite of Committal?
The grave or tomb is preferred because the prayers from the ritual express clearly the finality of placing the body in the ground or in the tomb.
Where can I find the text for the prayers of the funeral service?
The Order of Christian Funerals is the text of all Catholic funeral rites approved for use in the United States of America. It has been in mandatory use in all Latin rite Catholic parishes of the United States since All Souls Day, November 2, 1989. All the major Catholic book publishers have a ritual edition. There is a less expensive, paperback Study Edition published by
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