Please explain the use of incense at a funeral mass.
Incense is used to represent our prayers rising to heaven. Its usage is found in the Old Testament as we make an offering to God.
At the funeral Mass the body is incensed after the priest/deacon reverence the altar. It may be used at the gospel and the gifts, although this is not normally done. At the end of Mass the body will again be incensed following the sprinkling with Holy Water.
Thank you…I attended a funeral Mass that the priest explained as he was shwooshing the incense…first over the altar, then by the cruxifix, then over the congregation.
I am trying to remember what his explanations were. as unfortunatley my mom is coming close to the end of her battle with lung cancer. The readings were beautiful. One was about women, the second reading was I believe Timothy wrote in prison, having run the race, etc. Can you help with any of this?
Isn’t the Sprinkling with Holy Water done at the beginning? Thats what I’ve always experienced.
I think it is sprinkled both upon entry to the church and immediately before leaving [at the door].
Note that it also had a practical purpose in the old days before embalming.
Often it’s done at both although the Rite says that if it’s done at the Reception of the Body it’s not done at the Final Commendation.
Incense has the same significance at funeral masses as at other Masses, when it should be used as well, with the exception that the body is censed as well.
From 2 Timothy 4:1-9
"1] I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2] preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.
3] For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings,
4] and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.
5] As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.
6] For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.
 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8] Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
9] Do your best to come to me soon."
at my grandpaws funeral we used 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13