Hope and Consolation
The death of a loved one is a time of sorrow and profound grief. It is also a time when our Christian faith in the resurrection of Christ can offer great comfort and allow us to experience grace in the midst of sadness. The prayerful rituals of the Catholic Church at the time of a death are meant to bring hope and consolation to family members and friends even as they commend the soul of the deceased person to the loving mercy of God.
Disposition of the Body
- Casket: The body of the deceased in a casket, present at a funeral is a common form of service in the Catholic Church
- Cremation: Cremated remains can be present for a funeral Mass, if desired by the deceased and/or family.
Scheduling & Fees
Most often, funerals take place on weekdays, usually in the morning or early afternoon. They may also be celebrated on Saturday mornings, if no wedding is scheduled. Funerals are scheduled in consultation with the parish funeral coordinator. As far as possible, the needs and wishes of the family are given first consideration, although the availability of the worship space and a priest must be taken into account.
Some families choose to have a vigil or rosary for the deceased the evening before the funeral liturgy. A vigil or a rosary may be celebrated at the funeral home or in the church.
The diocese has a suggested parish donation of $300. Non-parishioner families who request a particular priest or deacon will want to provide an appropriate stipend for the minister (suggested amount: $150). The musicians supplied for the funeral are coordinated with the music director, Andrea Timm. Each of the musician’s fee is $200, with the minimum suggestion of a pianist and cantor. These fees are ordinarily collected by the funeral home and paid to the parish.
The custom of the Church is for the deceased to be buried from his or her own church. However, for a variety of reasons, people who are not parishioners desire to come to St. Al’s for funeral services, and we do our best to accommodate them.
Planning the Funeral Service
At St. Aloysius we encourage participation by the family and friends of the deceased. Some family members will meet with the parish funeral coordinator to plan the funeral. There are a variety of ways for people to participate: they can welcome people to the service at the doors of the church, serve as pall-bearers, place the funeral pall over the casket, and the crucifix and Book of the Gospels on the casket, at the beginning of the liturgy. Family members or friends also can proclaim the readings and the prayers of the faithful, present the gifts of bread and wine, serve as candle bearers and cross bearers and assist with distributing communion. A family member often gives a eulogy towards the end of the service. We encourage a eulogy given by a family member or friend at funeral services. The eulogy should be 5-10 minutes long (that’s about 500-1000 words). In the case of a funeral with cremated remains, a family member may carry the urn in procession to the sanctuary.
A parish priest is the usual presider at a funeral service. St. Aloysius Parish welcomes other Jesuit priests and priests from other parishes to preside, preach and concelebrate funerals at our church.
Readings are chosen from the Bible by the family, in consultation with the pastor. Usually the first reading is from the Old Testament, the second reading (optional) is from the New Testament (Letters and Revelation) and the third reading is from the Gospels.
The music for the funeral is organized by the parish music director. The music director meets with the family to choose appropriate music for the service, provides the keyboard accompaniment and coordinates the cantor and any additional musicians.
Many families wish to have a reception immediately after the service while everyone is still gathered.
The parish has O’Malley Hall that can be used for funeral receptions. This hall accommodates about 75 people and is handicapped accessible. The parish has a funeral reception ministry for registered parishioners which provides salads, sandwiches, and desserts, and coffee and tea, in our space, without charge.
Even more important than decisions surrounding your funeral are the decisions that may need to be made for your care at the end of life – before you die. There are many online resources to guide you in making “end of life” decisions about your living will, advance directives, and organ donation.