Idiots guide to Catholic funeral Mass

Hi all, so it’s been a while since I posted but I need some advice. My grandmother died on Tuesday, a Catholic funeral Mass has been arranged, I need to know how it all works. I haven’t attended a Mass in at least 25 years and I’ve never attended a funeral Mass.

Thanks for your help.

My condolences on the loss of your grandma.

Go to church, sit with the family and friends, and do what everybody else does, except don’t go to Communion unless you’ve confessed beforehand and are planning on being a regular Mass goer and avoiding all sins going forward.

A Mass is a Mass is a Mass. The only difference for a funeral is the Mass uses special prayers and readings relating to a funeral, and also the body is usually present. The priest may or may not permit relatives to read a eulogy during announcement time, if relatives even want to do that. I know when my parents died the last thing I wanted to do was get up and make a speech, but my cousin did it when their parent passed. Generally this is arranged in advance if it’s going to happen at all.

In any event, if this is your grandma, no one is going to be looking to see if you make a mistake. If you do make one, like stand when others sit, people will excuse it because you’re grieving.


I am sorry for your loss, Inquisitor.

The mass will probably be a bit different than when you were last there, but not really all that different.
The funeral mass will include some extra things relating to the deceased. There is nothing to worry about.

You can follow along with everyone else by using the missal that most churches have. If you have also been away confession as long as mass, you should not receive communion.

Perhaps this funeral mass will call to your heart and bring you back to mass again. If so, you are always welcome.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace .


Yeah, some of the prayer responses will have changed. Most notably, “And Also With You” is now “And With Your Spirit”. At every funeral there are some people who haven’t been to Mass in years and say “And Also With You.”


Thank you all for your thoughts and advice.

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Agree with all above, however posts like yours are why our parish is putting together a special worship aid for funerals.


This will sound weird, and perhaps even inappropriate given the situation, but my advice is to enjoy the Mass. by this I mean pay attention to every detail, the readings, the gestures, the prayers. Relish and cherish every single detail. A funeral Mass is one of the most beautiful things in the world.


Others have already responded well, but I just wanted to add my condolences on your loss. And if you would like to, you may send me your grandmother’s name, and I can offer Mass for her coming up when I have a free intention.



Sorry for bumping the thread but I wanted to say thank you for this advice. The Mass was today and the Priest did a wonderful job, and it was a beautiful ceremony. The Eucharistic ministers that went to the crematorium gave a really touching send off as well.


First, my condolences for your loss.

My question has changed slightly now I’ve read to the end of the thread and your grandmother’s funeral has taken place. Was there a service booklet to help people follow the service? No one else has mentioned this and @TheLittleLady says her parish is preparing a special worship aid. Here in the UK it is the norm for a service booklet to be printed. They usually contain a photo and brief biographical details of the deceased. Many take them home. I have accumulated quite a number (a sign of aging) of people I love or were dear to me.

At every funeral I have attended, a little pamphlet has been printed and passed out to all attendees which showed a photo of the deceased, an inspirational poem or psalm, and/or a brief biography, and a listing of the pall bearers, priest, deacon or other presiders, and also the birth and death dates of the deceased. It usually includes the name of the funeral home in charge of the arrangements. In the background, very faintly and discreet, is usually a placid, serene picture of a nature scene or religious symbol.

These informational tribute pamphlets are quite nice to take home for remembrance of the deceased. I, too, have several of them – the older I grow, the more of those I collect. I’ve no doubt that my own shall one day be included among them.

Maybe it’s a regional thing. I have never been to a Catholic funeral that had pamphlets of any kind.

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They do them in my parish too. It doesn’t usually include much about the Mass or the Funeral Rite beyond the hymn #s and who is doing what: placing the pall, carrying the cross, the various readings, and the general intercessions.

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Not just at Catholic funerals, but also at funerals held at other denominational churches, and even memorial services in the funeral home chapel. It seems a universal practice across the spectrum of Christianity in our area.

Again, I have never seen it at any Catholic funerals.

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Yeah, there was one. I even did a reading, but it doesn’t include much beyond that. The thing that took me by surprise was being asked to place a cross on the coffin, would have been nice to have known about that beforehand.

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