How long before a funeral happens?


If someone dies, when about would the Catholic funeral take place? If they died on Monday, for example? Would it make a difference if the death were expected or unexpected?

Thank you!


Well, my mom died thirty minutes before the start of Holy Thursday. Since one cannot have a funeral Mass during the Easter Triduum, her funeral Mass did not take place until the following Tuesday. That was six days since her death. I am told that was a longer time than usual, but it really helped us in the grieving process rather than doing it in the usual 4 days, or so.


It’s usually about a week, in my experience. The delay is often because of getting a slot at the crematorium. Sometimes it’s because family members have to travel from other countries, but want to be there.


That was the reason for the delay in my mother’s funeral. Her funeral was six days after she died.


In Italy it is normally the next day. Except for Easter, any day, including Christmas Day.


I have seen funerals take place as soon as two days and as much as five months (!) after death, with 4-6 days being most common. Whether or not the death was expected has had no bearing that I know of on the timing of the funeral.


Thanks everyone.

I must say, I agree with Mary Francis (great name, btw ;)) --having the funeral very soon after death seems like it doesn’t allow people time to get used to the idea that the person has died before they are going to the funeral. But I guess there are practical considerations as well as reinforcing the idea that death can come quickly.

Thanks again!


Around here it’s 4-5 days. But our parish has a very close relationship with the local funeral home (it’s a block away), and the Pastor & Deacons get right on it, helping the family make arrangements and handling things for them.


I’m not sure if you are asking about this from a Catholic doctrine, canon, or rubric perspective. There aren’t any rubrics, canons, or doctrines governing this.

It is completely a prudential matter to be worked out among the family, priest, and funeral home.


Thanks so much. I didn’t think there were rules about it, but ai know sometimes there are more like cultural traditions.


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