By the nature of the Church’s funeral rites, they are public and have certain formalities, traditions and customs. The prayer and ritual of the Christian funeral are approached as one prayer, like a procession that moves from the deathbed to the cemetery. Within this procession, there are three specific moments that the Christian community marks:
Reception of the Body at the Church
The Funeral Mass and Final Commendation
Rite of Committal
Click here for a printable leaflet detailing the order of service and suggested readings, prayers of the faithful and hymns.
Funeral Guidelines Leaflet
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The reception of the body at the church is the first stage of the public rite of the Christian community. It is general practice that this takes place on the evening before the funeral Mass. This allows the parting from family and friends to take place in stages. Since the church is where the community of faith comes to worship, the Rite of Recepiton of the Body takes place at the church.
The entrance procession is led by the priest. The coffin and the chief mourners may be accompanied by music or song, which helps to gather this community as one, in grief, and in your hope of resurrection.
In baptism, this person was presented to the community and welcomed at the door of the church. Now the family and all who accompany the body of the deceased person are greeted at the door of the church. In baptism, this person was washed clean in the saving waters. Now the body of the deceased is sprinkled with holy water.
Personal mementos – reflecting the life of your loved one – can be brought in procession at the Reception of the Body or at the beginning of Mass. A commentary describing the connection of these momentoes with the deceased may be made. These emblems should not clash with the Christian symbols in the funeral rite.
The Word of God offers us life and hope and with this booklet you will receive a selection of sacred scripture provided for the funeral mass. Secular readings cannot replace the Word of God. This selection gives us an opportunity to hear God speak to our needs, sorrows, fears and hopes as we gather to mourn your loved one. You are invited to choose two readings, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament and a Responsorial Psalm if it is not being sung.
While burial is more common in Ireland, the practice of cremation is accepted by the Catholic Church. If the body of the deceased person is to be cremated, the rite of committal takes place at the burial of ashes. We honour them as we honoured the body. They are reverently buried or entombed in a place reserved for the burial of the dead, as soon afer cremation as possible.