Funeral Eulogy help needed

I have an unusual thing to ask you. I am writing the eulogy for my grandmother’s funeral tomorrow and surprising enough have the body completed. The part I am having trouble putting into proper words is thanking the priest and church. I was hoping you would be able to help me complete my thought in the proper wording for the ceremony. Here is what I have:

I’d also like to thank Father XXXX and the XX XXXXXXXXX Church for their part in helping us transition from grief and mourning, through to the mass and prayers that guide her spirit into the kingdom of heaven.

I’m confused on the wording, partially because I don’t know how the church views things. I believe it used to be that everyone went to a purgatory, and that the funeral ceremony was to ask for forgiveness of sins and guidance into heaven. Is that still the belief? It seems that some go more by an assumption that you die and go to heaven, without reference to any type of suffering prior.

I want to specifically thank them because both the viewing and ceremony are being held at the church, which we were told is not done anymore and generally frowned apon, but since it was planned years ago they would allow it.

I just want this to be right. I spent my entire youth going to this church with my Grandmother, took CCD classes there and helped with Summer Bible School there in my early teens. I haven’t been very close to organized religion for some time now and don’t want to mess this up.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Dear Friend, we still believe in purgatory, and funerals are almost always held in the church (but not the wake; perhaps this is what you meant). Your wording is polite and theologically correct; it is the hope of the Church that all souls enter Heaven, and we pray for this at the funeral.

Dear raylax,

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your grandmother.

Praying for the repose of her soul, and for comfort for you and your family.


I too will include her in my prayers tonight.

Yes, there is still a purgatory, and I’ve been to too many funerals where the deceased is declared to be in Heaven! They almost become mini-canonizations (of course, only the pope can canonize). So while it is proper to remember people for the good that was in them and rejoice in the happy times, we should still remember that they might need our prayers! If I were in purgatory, I would want folks to pray hard for me.

Your wording seems OK. May the Spirit guide you with wisdom and confidence in such a trying time.

My condolences on the loss of your Grandmother. May she rest in peace.

Having said that, this is the “Liturgy” forum, so I would be remiss to give you bad advice.

On the subject of a eulogy, the only answer is to not give one at all. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal is quite clear and explicit on this matter:382. At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind.
I have linked to it above so that you can verify that those are not my words but the guidelines of the Church.

You will find the same in the Order of Christian Funerals, as well.

markomalley is entirely correct.

It is improper to eulogize anyone at a Catholic funeral mass. What we have done in our family is allow the entire mass to be said, permit the priest to say “the Mass is ended”, AND THEN, before going on with the “final prayers” said towards the coffin, everyone sits and someone gives what could be described as a “eulogy”.

A homily should NOT be the time to tell everyone a person’s life story and how great they were. A homily CAN and SHOULD, however, be such that it ties the deceased with the readings.

Along with everyone else, I offer my prayers and condolencese on the death of your family member.

Requiescat in pacem +

The Order of Christian Funerals allows for brief “words of remembrance” at the Funeral Mass. This should be about the faith life of the person and is either done before the Mass or after the Prayer after COmmunion before the final commendation.

I was at a funeral yesterday where the deceased’s niece gave such beautiful words of remembrance. She truly captured the faith life of the man and inspired us all to have as much faith as he did. Usually these words should be no longer than 3-5 minutes and should not be a story of their life but of their faith. Sorry for your loss. I am sure you will speak beautifully about her.

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