I am serving for a funerary mass tomorrow at my church and luckily, I have only a few times before had to attend a funeral, and never served at one, I honestly have no idea of what I am supposed to do, and what really happens at a funeral mass, I heard something about it being customary for the deceased’s family to pay the altar servers(?), which sounds REALLY sketchy to me accepting money cause somebody died… So if somebody could fill me in on any funerary etiquette they know of…?
In most American RC parishes it is the custom to pay the alter servers at Weddings and at Funerals. If what you mean “sounds really sketchy” as simony, you need not worry. Simony isn’t happening as an alter server is typically not ordained and you are not being paid to give a sacrament.
As for what to do at the mass, be sure to ask the priest prior to the mass if you have any questions, as I’m sure he’ll be able to help you out.
On a side note, when I was in middle school my friends and I used to beg to be servers at funeral masses, as it meant that we would get paid (typically $5 dollars back then) and most importantly, we had an excuse to get out of school.
What I meant was that I don’t think its right, not necessarily Simony, I didn’t think of that, but I volunteered for this out of the goodness(Ha! as if…) of my heart, I didn’t know we would be compensated for it, now Im kinda feeling dirty for profiteering from somebody’s death.
PS- Sketchy or Shady is SoCal creole for someone or something that just isn’t right, or simply, suspicious
Well, you could always refuse the money or donate it to a just cause (like the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul). I wouldn’t feel bad about receiving it though, as no alter server (or priest for that matter) will get rich off of funeral masses. Remember funerals are for us here on Earth, as the departed are the ones partying!
Ill probably do something like that then, thanks for the help Macarius!
Its similar to altar servers at a wedding, they sometimes get compensation. I think parishoners in general think serving at a wedding or a funeral is extraordinary and want to thank those that do serve. Think of it as someone that genuinely appreciates you helping in honoring their loved one.
I remember altar servers when I was in school were always eager to volunteer to serve for weddings and funerals because that’s where they made their pocket money. They also liked to serve for visiting priests for the same reason: a priest on holidays usually paid them to serve.
I ended up getting ten dollars for it, ill hold onto it until I find a worthy cause for my blood money. Turns out the person was cremated, I thought Catholics couldn’t be cremated:shrug:
We were supposed to give a small stipend to the alter servers? I did not know that when I planned my father’s funeral more than 2-1/2 years ago.
Cremation has been allowed per the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
(Can. 1176 §3) *The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching. *
What the “contrary to Christian teaching” part means is that cremains (“cremated remains”) must be treated with the same reverence as a body in terms of interment. A Catholic cannot be cremated with the intent of scattering their ashes over something like a lake or golf course, splitting them up to family or friends, or shooting them off into space–things like that.
The reason for this restriction is that it infers that the person denies a fundamental tenet of Catholicism: the Resurrection of the Body. (God can do anything, but no need to make it “harder” on Him.)
Cremains should also be respectfully buried in a Catholic cemetery or interred in a mausoleum.
A body can also be donated to medical science. A Mass of Christian Burial can still be held by my understanding. It’s what I will request for my mother, who chooses to donate her body to SCIENCE! rather than burial. Should make the med students very happy.