Can someone describe a Catholic funeral


I was once at a Catholic wake for an uncle who was devout. Dont remember a Mass(?) then went to the burial and that is very vague.

Recently there was no wake per the departed's wishes and no grave side burial rites(?) just some sort of farewell at the cemetery, but there was a viewing at the funeral home where a priest gave sort of a eulogy. Was this okay for a Catholic? They did receive final unction by a priest.


First of all. the term"unction" was abolished after Vatican 2. It is meant for all seriously ill,but used to be a scary idea,as people associated it with dying.It is now called the Sacrament of the sick, There are two types of Catholic funeral; those with a Requiem Mass, and those with a service without Mass. This latter is often performed these days by Deacons. Both can be followed by a service at the graveside,or at the Crematorium.


There are three rites in the funeral liturgy:

Vigil for the deceased - night before funeral. it is a liturgy of the word, and yes it may contain a homily. Family, friends, etc, may offer a eulogy, stories, etc, rosary and other prayers after/as part of the vigil for the deceased, but it may not replace the vigil which is an official liturgy of the Church.

Funeral Mass - self explanatory. There are some extra rites within the funera mass including the sprinkling of the casket, placing of the pall, and final commendation. It is also possible to have a funeral outside of Mass in some circumstances

Rite of Committal- at the graveside.


Both of my husband’s parents had Catholic funerals. They lived in the UK and went to a parish that was predominantly Irish immigrants.

Both of them had a Vigil the night before. They brought the casket into the church and had a service - I honestly don’t remember if it was a Mass or just a Liturgy of the Word.

Then the following day was the funeral Mass. It was very similar to a regular Mass with the readings and such, but there were a few extra rituals included that I honestly don’t remember the details of.

Then after the funeral Mass, most of the people processed to the gravesite. The priest travelled with us, and did a final ceremony at the grave site. He sprinkled Holy Water onto the casket, and allowed the family members to do the same, prior to lowering it into the ground.

My grandma had a Catholic funeral too, but it was not a Mass, and I don’t remember the priest coming to the grave site.


If you're asking about the funeral Mass itself, it goes much like an ordinary Mass, but with certain differences. Before the processional hymn, the body is welcomed at the back of the church. The casket is sprinkled with holy water and covered with a pall. During the procession, the casket is carried to the front of the church and the Paschal candle is placed at the head. In some parishes, three tall candles are placed on each side of the casket. The Mass continues on as normal. Note that there is no eulogy, since the Mass is a prayer for the soul of the deceased and not a remembrance of their lives, though it is permitted for someone to give a short talk about the deceased at the end of Mass. After the final prayer come the prayers of commendation. The casket is sprinkled and incensed. Then the casket is carried from the church to the cemetery, where the grave is blessed and the final committal is made.


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