FUNERAL LITURGY
           Guidelines approved for the Archdiocese of
                        Cashel & Emly

Lord God,
whose days are without end
and whose mercies beyondcounting,
keep us mindful that life is short and the hour of deathunknown.
Let your Spirit guide our days onearth
in the ways of holiness andjustice,
that we may serve you
in union with the wholeChurch,
sure in faith, strong in hope, perfect inlove.
And when our earthly journey isended,
lead us rejoicing into yourkingdom,
where you live for ever andever.
                    (Order of ChristianFunerals)


      The death of a family member is a particularly sad and painful experience.
      Even when expected, the death of a loved one always leaves a sense of
      shock and loss. Yet despite the shock and loss, many practical
      arrangements have to be made at short notice, including the planning of
      the funeral liturgy.

      At this sad and painful time of bereavement people of faith turn to God
      and the Church seeking comfort and support. The Church's funeral liturgy
      is a rich source of consolation and hope at this difficult time.

      The enclosed Guidelines are designed to ensure that the celebration of
      the funeral liturgy is a dignified, prayerful and consoling experience for
      mourners and all who participate in the funeral ceremonies. They have
   been compiled to assist all those whose duty it is to make the necessary
   arrangements for the Christian burial of one of the faithful.

   These Guidelines are now presented to the faithful of the archdiocese of
   Cashel & Emly as a means of ensuring the continued worthy celebration
   of the funeral liturgy and the strengthening of Christian hope among the
   bereaved and all the faithful.

1 Arranging the Funeral Liturgy.
  The worthy celebration of the funeral liturgy requires careful planning. The
  priest who celebrates the Funeral Mass will be happy to assist bereaved
  relatives in planning the funeral liturgy, especially in the choice of
  Scripture readings, prayers of the faithful, hymns, liturgical music and
  other such matters.

2 Communication
  As soon as possible following the event, funeral directors/relatives are
  asked to notify parish clergy regarding the death of a parishioner. Such
  timely notification facilitates the necessary planning of the funeral liturgy.

   The times for reposing of remains, removal to church and arrival in church
   should be indicated in death notices published in newspapers and on
   radio. Such will help to avoid unnecessary delay and encourage more
   people to participate in the liturgical ceremony of Reception of the Body at
   the Church.

3 Prayers in the Home/Funeral Parlour
  The Order of Christian Funerals provides a variety of prayer services for
  use in the more intimate setting of home or funeral parlour.
  These prayers can be led by a priest, a family member or a parishioner.
  This is the appropriate setting in which to recall and celebrate the
  deceased's interests and associations. The priest in your parish will be
  happy to visit the home or funeral parlour to pray for the deceased and the

4 Reception of the Body at the Church
  This rite signifies the transition from the private expression of the personal
  grief of the family in the home to the more public liturgical expression of
  the local parish community's prayerful support for the deceased and

   Christian Symbols
   The prayers and symbols used at the Reception of the Body at the Church
   emphasize the dignity of the Christian.
          •   The coffin is sprinkled with holy water to recall the pledge of
              eternal life received in the waters of baptism.

          •    The lighted Paschal Candle symbolises the risen Christ's
              victory over sin.

          •    Other Christian symbols such as a Cross, the Book of the
              Gospels and a funeral pall may be placed on the coffin at this

   Personal Emblems
   The family may also wish to carry other emblems which reflect the
   deceased's interests and personality.
         • These should not conflict with the Christian symbols which are
             used in the ceremony.

          •    Such personal emblems may be placed near the coffin or the
              family but they should not displace the Christian symbols which
              represent the baptismal calling of the deceased.

   On occasion, relatives may wish to drape the coffin with the national or
   other appropriate flag. In such circumstances the following procedures

          •    The coffin may be draped with an appropriate flag as it enters
              the Church.

          •    While lying in church the flag should not obscure the Christian
              symbols placed on the coffin. This will necessitate the partial
              folding of the flag.

          •   In some parishes the funeral pall is used to drape the coffin at
              all funerals. Local custom should be followed in this matter.

5 Funeral Mass
  The Funeral Mass is the central liturgical celebration for the deceased.
  Relatives and friends are welcome to actively participate in the celebration
  of the Mass. Such active involvement in the Mass includes the reading of
  Scripture, reciting the prayers of the faithful and the presentation of the
  gifts. However, grieving relatives should not feel obliged to engage in
  public performance on such a sad occasion.

Word of God
          •   Family members are encouraged to choose appropriate
              Scripture readings for the Funeral Mass.

          •   Reading of the Word of God alone is permitted at the
              Eucharistic celebration. Secular readings may not replace the
              Word of God.

          • The homily, delivered by the priest or deacon, focuses on the
            Christian's belief in the resurrection, thus offering hope and
            consolation to mourners and faithful in general.

          •   While the homilist may refer to the deceased's efforts to live the
              Christian life, the homily is not a eulogy.

          Prayers of the Faithful
          • In the prayers of the faithful the Christian community calls upon
            God to bring comfort to the bereaved and to show mercy to the

          •    Family members or friends who wish to compose these prayers
              should consult with the celebrant of the Mass to ensure that
              these intercessions conform to liturgical norms.

6 Presentation of Gifts
  It is desirable that relatives or friends of the deceased present the bread
  and wine for the Eucharistic celebration.

   It is not appropriate at this time to bring forward other emblems of the
   deceased's life and interests. As previously indicated (cf. No 4 above)
   such emblems may, if required, be brought forward at the Reception of the
   Body at the Church, or prior to the commencement of the Funeral Mass.

7 Music and Hymns
  Appropriate music and hymns enhance the funeral liturgy and are
  recommended. Many parishes have choirs and organists available to
  participate in Funeral Masses.

   When choosing suitable hymns and music for the funeral liturgy relatives
   of the deceased should consult with the celebrant and/or parish organist
   and choir. This is particularly important when outside musicians or
   cantors are engaged to lead music and song in the funeral liturgy.

   Secular lyrics have no place in the Church's sacred liturgy.
        On occasion, appropriate secular music, especially instrumental music,
        can enhance the funeral liturgy. Judgment regarding the appropriateness
        of such music should be made by the celebrant and/or parish organist.

     8 Mass Cards
       It is not appropriate to place Mass cards on the coffin.

        A suitable basket or other container for this purpose should be located in
        the vicinity of the coffin.

     9 Flowers
       When flowers are presented at funerals it is recommended that only one
       wreath should be placed near the coffin in church.

        Other wreaths are more appropriately located in the church porch or other
        suitable storage area near the entrance to the Church.

        Such an arrangement enhances the dignity of a Christian funeral while
        also facilitating the easy movement of the cortège into and out of the

10      Address
        Should a relative or friend of the deceased wish to deliver an address on
        the occasion of a funeral a number of options are available:

        The address, which is a resume of and tribute to the life and achievements
        of the deceased, is most appropriately delivered at the graveside following
        The following arrangements apply where relatives wish to have an
        address in church;
                    i. The address, which should be brief, may be delivered
                       either at the end of the ceremony of Reception of the Body;
                       prior to the Funeral Mass or at the conclusion of the Final
                       Commendation following the Funeral Mass.
                    ii. The sentiments expressed in an address delivered in
                       church should be in harmony with the sacred surroundings
                       of the house of God and the funeral liturgy.
                    iii. Hence, the person delivering the address should discuss
                       the matter with the celebrant in advance.
                    iv. It is not appropriate to deliver an address during the
                       celebration of Mass.

In the funeral liturgy we commend the deceased to God, pray for the bereaved
and nourish our faith in the resurrection.

By faithfully observing these Guidelines our funeral liturgies will be what they are
intended to be - prayerful expressions of Christian faith in a good and merciful
God who is compassionate to all.

May those who mourn and all the faithful find renewed hope and strength through
the worthy celebration of the funeral liturgy.

"I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord,whoever believes in me will
never die".

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