The Catholic funeral rites celebrate the mystery of our life, death and resurrection in Christ. Through Baptism we enter into this mystery. We live our lives in the hope of sharing eternal life with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Faith in this mystery should motivate people arranging the funeral of a loved one.
Planning a funeral can be overwhelming. With that in mind we present to you the funeral guidelines for our parish.
Funeral Planning Sheet
This Planning Sheet is a way for you to become active in the Funeral Rite of a loved one. The Parish also provides you with this Planning Sheet so that together we can help you plan your loved one's funeral Mass. In this Planning Sheet, you will find Mass Readings and Hymns that are appropriate for the Funeral Mass.
The Word of God is of great importance in the funeral rite. The readings proclaim the meaning that Christ himself gave to death, teach us to remember the dead, nourish our hope of being gathered together again in God's kingdom, and encourage us to live the Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God's design for a world in which suffering and death will be destroyed. In the readings all present have an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears and hopes. To make this easier for the family, the Catholic Church has pre-selected a number of Biblical passages which are appropriate for the occasion of a funeral. Please look over these passages as part of your funeral preparations, and find those words which speak to your heart. Note: During the funeral liturgy, the biblical readings may not be replaced. However, at a family prayer service, an additional reading, inspired by faith, could be appropriate as a meditation.
The Mass of Christian Burial is the primary service, customarily celebrated in the morning, reflecting the theme of resurrection. Procession to the cemetery and burial usually follows the Mass.
Funeral arrangements begin with a meeting with the funeral director. The parish will contact the family to discuss the details of the Mass of Christian Burial.
Flowers are permitted for the Wake/Rosary Service and again for the Mass of Christian Burial. Parish staff will direct the placement of the flowers. Funeral directors should take notice of flowers that are already in the sanctuary before the Mass. After Mass, please be sure to only remove the flowers the family has brought. The parish welcomes donations of flower arrangements should the family wish it. Flowers arrangements are not to be carried in the recessional.
Memorial displays are encouraged at the wake at the funeral home. If some images are to be used in church, the display is to be kept simple. They are never to block the view of the tabernacle or the music ministers.
If the deceased is to be cremated, it is permissible to celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial with the cremated remains present. Church law requires the cremains be laid to rest in consecrated ground, either buried or inurned in a Columbarium. For more information about our cemetery, please see below.
Christian burial is a long standing tradition of the Church. Usually a mass precedes the burial which brings together family and friends to celebrate the life of the deceased. Burial can be at the parish cemetery or any cemetery of the family’s choosing.
Our parish is fortunate enough to have a cemetery. It dates back to the 1850’s. Our summer 2011 expansion allows St. Joseph’s to provide for its families and others, a sacred place for Catholic burial. Most people purchase graves/lots in advance as one does pre-planning arrangements. Lots can be purchased by contacting Barbara Mosco at the parish office to set up an appointment. A Certificate of Ownership is given when the grave/lot is paid in full. A lot’s ownership is also registered in the parish records.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, citing the 1983 Code of Cannon Law, states the "the Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body" (CCC, no, 2301). An Appendix was recently added to the 0rder of Christian Funerals (OCF) approved for use in the dioceses of the United States that provides liturgical guidelines for funeral services when the cremated remains are present.
The basic premise is that the cremated remains are treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they came. From these documents the faithful are permitted to consider cremation as an alternative method of burial.
A columbarium is a vault with niches for urns containing the ashes of the dead. With the permitting of cremation by the Church, entombment in a mausoleum or columbarium has become a widespread practice. It should be noted that the Church· does not permit the "scattering the ashes". A respectful and proper burial is required so that the human remains are treated as a "temple of the Holy Spirit."
Graves/lots in our cemetery or niches in the columbaria can be purchased by contacting the Director of Cemetery Management at the parish office to set up an appointment. Additionally there is a cost for opening the niche or grave. Perpetual care is included in the purchase price of a grave or niche.
Other costs involved with burial include a stipend to the parish for the service, including music if there is a funeral mass. This may be included when planning with your funeral director.