Help! No idea how to plan for a catholic wake/funeral


#1

I know I should have asked this sooner, but it didn’t seem very urgent until now. Being a convert I’ve only been to one catholic funeral and it was someone I barely knew and a long time ago so I didn’t pay much attention. How on earth do you set up a catholic wake/funeral? It would be for my mother, also a convert, so I’d have to be the coordiantor since I’m the only catholic. Step by step please, I’m totally clueless on this. :blush:

Oh and my dad would like his protestant minister, my mother’s former minister before she converted, to preach in addition to the priest. Is this possible?

Also, my mother and I are the ONLY catholics, save one set of distant cousins, in my family. When I had my wedding we did a service because only my mother and I would have been able to have communion and Father thought it was for the best. But funeral masses are always masses, so how would that work with only me being a communicant? :o

Sorry this is so disorganized. It’s just a whirlwind right now in my head.


#2

My parish has a ministry that meets with the family to prepare the funeral. It’s all in a book and the family basically just has to pick out the readings and the hymns. The rest is just a mass with a few differences.

Usually at a Catholic funeral there is not eulogy although some parishes allow a person to speak very briefly about the faith life of the deceased.

Hope this helps.


#3

To further complicate matters my mother isn’t a member of any said parish. She was always a parish “hopper.” She’s been going to the same one for a couple of years now, but doesn’t have actual membership there. I’ve tried to get her to do it, but it never gets done.

Even worse, we live two states away. So this all will have to be done via telephone at first, then visiting a parish that mom is not an official member at, with a priest I don’t know, all the while planning a catholic funeral to assist the mourning of solely protestant family members. Not to mention I will be in state of partial hysteria due to my mental health issues. Yeah…okie dokie. :whacky:

I feel like this. :banghead:


#4

Yes, there are usually “bereavement ministries” at parishes… My mom is on our parish’s committee… and yes, she’s dealt with families from out of state…

Call the parish your mom is most fond of… ask to talk to the priest ahead of time, maybe he can put you in contact with someone who can help…

This happens… don’t sweat it too much… parishes deal with this all the time…

Be at peace… and focus on your mother… you don’t need to stress over the funeral until it’s time. :frowning:


#5

You could have just the funeral vigil at the funeral home and a simple funeral liturgy at the Church. You don't HAVE to have a funeral Mass particularly if you're the only one likely to receive. Talk to the priest of the parish your mom attended recently.


#6

I don't know whether to feel relief or start bawling.

My mother just talked to me and so I asked her about if she was a member of any church yet and she actually said yes!

The sad thing was she was talking to me about HER OWN funeral arrangements like it was the most normal thing. :( I think she's more resigned to the fact she might get to see Jesus soon than we are. It's just sooooooooo hard. :crying:


#7

I suggest you contact your own parish and see if they have a funeral planning guide. Many parishes have those. It will give you some idea of what a funeral and wake will be like.

But here is some general information on wakes and funerals...

The wake/vigil service is typically held the evening before the funeral. Unless the deceased has already been cremated this can be open casket. If a large number of guests are expected it can be in the Church but more often it will be in a funeral home. If led by a priest or deacon this will have some structure (probably some readings) but will be much less formal than the funeral will be. This will be where eulogies can be given. Your family's protestant minister would probably speak here.

The funeral will be much more formalized so you pretty much just do/prepare what you are told. You may be asked to pick readings and music (if there will be music.) Sometime family members are asked to do readings. As others have said, it doesn't HAVE to be a funeral Mass. It can be a simple Liturgy of the Word service led by a deacon. Funerals are supposed to be closed casket. There are not supposed to be eulogies but the priest or deacon can incorporate some information about the deceased into his homily. If there is a Mass, it can be permitted for someone to share a short *reflection on the deceased *after Communion. A priest would probably want to see a written version of it before hand to make sure it is suitable for Mass.

When the deceased is interred it is usual for a priest or deacon to bless the grave site wear the body/cremains will be buried. There will be some brief prayers but the priest or deacon will handle everything.


#8

Has your mom picked out a funeral home? When my dad died, they were the ones that actually walked us through all the planning for the vigil, the mass, and for what would happen at the grave site. It wasn’t the parish secretary or priest that did any of that for us.


#9

[quote="PatriceA, post:8, topic:194931"]
Has your mom picked out a funeral home? When my dad died, they were the ones that actually walked us through all the planning for the vigil, the mass, and for what would happen at the grave site. It wasn't the parish secretary or priest that did any of that for us.

[/quote]

Every parish is different. In ours, Fr. usually meets with the families to plan the vigil and the funeral. Few families want a vigil though, so it's not something we do often. Usually they just want the rosary said.

If Fr. happens to be away to the other parish for which he's responsible, two of us are trained to do the planning with the family. The other woman who does that with me told me that when her mom died all the planning was done at the funeral home but by a bereavement team from her mom's parish.


#10

I work for TWO Parishes :smiley:

It is very very wise to pre plan (heck, all of us on here should go ahead and plan our funerals, don’t leave that to your mourning families).

For a funeral Mass, you will get to pick the music and the readings.

This is a FANTASTIC resource:

stjudefw.org/liturgy/funerals.html

Usually there is a Rosary the night before the funeral, that can be done at the funeral home and combined with visitation. You can have some readings and music then as well, and that is the time to have eulogies.

The Mass is NOT a time for eulogies. The homily should be a homily.

You may have prayer cards printed, if you have computer skills, you can do this yourself and save some $$$$.

Your mom’s Parish likely has a group that will bring in a luncheon for the family after the Mass in the hall.

Please, PM me and I will give you my office number if you want to talk about it.


#11

[quote="Phemie, post:5, topic:194931"]
You could have just the funeral vigil at the funeral home and a simple funeral liturgy at the Church. You don't HAVE to have a funeral Mass particularly if you're the only one likely to receive. Talk to the priest of the parish your mom attended recently.

[/quote]

A funeral mass should never ever be omitted just because a small amount of people will receive communion.

EVERY Catholic deserves to have a funeral mass said for their soul.

It seems people always forget that the funeral is to pray for the deceased.


#12

I dont know how helpful this is but my Aunt Pat had a short service at the funeral home (which would be an okay place for the old minister to say a few words and anyone else) then her body was moved to the church for the mass, then to the funeral home all of these arrangements were coordinated through the funeral home...

My uncle was aware of his coming death in advance and made his own arrangements with the priest who visited regularly in the end. His arrangements that were made in advance were with the funeral home and the priest actually.


#13

Your mother is a member of her geographic parish. The pastor there is responsible for her spiritual care. You can have the funeral there. NEVER forgo a funeral mass!!! The mass is for the soul of the deceased person, not just for the living. We must never forget to pray for the souls of our deceased family members. I would not want to be responsible for any one in my family having to spend one more minute in purgatory than is necessary if my prayers could help them. The parish will have someone assigned to help you plan the mass. Only ordained Catholic ministers, priests or deacons, can read the gospel and preach at a Catholic mass. Possibly your protestant minister friend could speak at the wake. Our prayers will be with you at this difficult time. We have have to plan two funerals in our family since December of 2008 so I know what you are going through.


#14

When my wife died recently, our parish priest came to my house and asked her sons and I what we would want in readings and music. We were offered a choice of scripture reading or the rosary at the viewing… We chose the scripture readings, because of the protestant background of my wife, who converted to our Church. Also, at the Mass, we picked out some of her favorite music, for the entrance, offertory, Communion, and recessional. This was all very,very nice. Even my wifes brother, who is a Nazarene minister, commented on how nice and uplifting the Mass and music was. And I agreed. I believe I’ll be picking out some wishes of my own for my own Mass when I go. I’m 70, so it might be sooner than later. Also, don’t forget the gravesite, stone, etc. This was on April 1 after she fought a four month battle with non-hodgkins lymphoma cancer. I really don’t know what to do with the rest of my life, but that’s another thread. God be with you.


#15

[quote="davy39, post:14, topic:194931"]
When my wife died recently, our parish priest came to my house and asked her sons and I what we would want in readings and music. We were offered a choice of scripture reading or the rosary at the viewing.. We chose the scripture readings, because of the protestant background of my wife, who converted to our Church. Also, at the Mass, we picked out some of her favorite music, for the entrance, offertory, Communion, and recessional. This was all very,very nice. Even my wifes brother, who is a Nazarene minister, commented on how nice and uplifting the Mass and music was. And I agreed. I believe I'll be picking out some wishes of my own for my own Mass when I go. I'm 70, so it might be sooner than later. Also, don't forget the gravesite, stone, etc. This was on April 1 after she fought a four month battle with non-hodgkins lymphoma cancer. I really don't know what to do with the rest of my life, but that's another thread. God be with you.

[/quote]

I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers. God bless you.


#16

Agapewolf is totally right about this.

A funeral is also about closure. It’s the first step in a long goodbye.

I’m praying for you, prolifewife…


#17

It is so sad to see, as I do, a Catholic who dies and the non-practicing kids/family members do not think a Mass is important.

Our OP is a caring Catholic, and I am sure she will make sure her mom has a Mass.


#18

Absolutely. I can’t imagine not having a funeral mass? I mean my goodness, unless it’s literally logistically impossible I can’t imagine forgoing this.:confused:

FWIW, my mother died unexpectedly just before Christmas and most of the attendees of the funeral were either of some other faith or no longer practicing Catholics. So at Communion Fr. instructed those who wouldn’t be taking communion for whatever reason to come up with their arms crossed for a blessing. This was nice as it meant there weren’t 20 people going up to communion while the other 80 sat in the pews. I know my mom would have appreciated it too since most of my siblings aren’t practicing Catholics anymore:( Also her wake was immediately before the mass in the narthex area and the casket was open then of course but was closed before she was brought into church. We also had a ‘eulogy’ of sorts by my brother but it was *after *communion.

prolifewife I sincerely hope all this planning isn’t needed now :signofcross:but if it is you will be so glad you had a chance to plan before hand. It’s really something everyone should do. The parish will be of great help and have dealt with all these intricacies before so no worries. It truly is a blessing to have the people at the parish who work in this capacity, and you have NO IDEA how vital they are until you need them at a time like this. prayers for you and your mom:gopray2::hug1:


#19

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