Is it wise to do this at funerals?


I have been to many funerals where, after the rosary and prayer, the priest, deacon or whoever is leading the rosary will call on people to come up and say something regarding the deceased. I personally do not like this because time and time again, it goes on for almost an hour by people coming up and each of them apparently trying to outdo the other and bring tears to the mourners. Many times it turns out that the person speaking is only talking only about himself/herself. At other times I have seen some go up and tell stories about how bad they were and how they are now born again and the need to come to accept Jesus as your personal savior and elude to anti-catholic teachings. Some poems are read and the person reading the poem is all in tears and can hardly be understood. I personally find all that annoying. I think that there should be one or two members of the family that may want to relate something about the deceased and are in control of themselves and that’s it. I remember many years back as a child that after the priest led the rosary, he had special prayers and sprinkled the body with holy water, then he would have a homily regarding death that it is not the end and to remind the faithful to pray for the deceased. After words of condolences it was over and that was it. Now in many instances the person leading the rosary makes comments or even assurances to the effect that the deceased is now in heaven and that we should pray to him/her and practically takes it upon himself/herself to proclaim the deceased already a saint.

Your thoughts


The Rite of Christian Burial does not allow for people to come up and do this.


this does not sound like it is happening at the actual funeral, which is not allowed, but like it is happening at the wake service in the funeral home the evening before the actual funeral itself. There is a rite of the Church for a wake service, or praying the rosary, with or without appropriate hymns is also an option. If a priest or deacon is leading the service he should follow the rites of the Church. If the family, on their own initiative, want to do something else, including inviting friends and family to speak, that should be done after the actual service, and not “moderated” by the priest or deacon. It may become something that is in bad taste, for the reasons you list, but it is not forbidden, because outside its own rites the Church does not specify what may be done at this time.

the sprinkling with holy water that many of us remember from wakes years ago is now incorporated into the rite of Christian Burial (the actual funeral).


Actually there is a place for family members to speak, however they are usually restricted to under 5 minutes and the priest or deacon has had a chance to review it for appropriateness.

Order of Christian Funerals
THE ORDER OF CHRISTIAN FUNERALS has three principal parts: the Vigil for the Deceased; the Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass; the Rite of Committal.
Opening Song
Invitation to Prayer
Opening Prayer
**Scripture Readings with Responsorial Psalm
The Lord’s Prayer
[size=4]Concluding Prayer (A family member or friend may speak in remembrance of the deceased.)
Song and/or a few minutes of silent prayer


I believe Annie is correct in her interpretation of the OP - what the OP described is the wake service, not the “funeral.” For starters, the Rosary isn’t recited at the (church) funeral. In our diocese, there’s been a strong push to have the family members speak, share whatever poem, etc., at the funeral home, to avoid the kind of family pressures that too easily can derail the Rites at church by having multiple family members speak after Mass. We’ve been trying to hold it to a single family member, 5 minutes or less, and to be “in control.”


My mother died last summer. The pastor at our church allowed my sisters and I about 5 minutes to speak. No rosary.

My cousin, a priest died a few months earlier and there was no rosary then either. One priest, a friend since high school seminary days, gave a nice eulogy, although he called him Charlie and the family called him Chuck. At the end of Mass, a huge chorus of priests, probably about 200 men, sang something in Latin, but I don’t remember what it was right now. The only immediate family left is one sister in her late 70s who was too overwrought to speak. But all those priests singing, wearing white robes, that was pretty special. The Archbishop said the Mass which was also pretty special.


The priests usually chant the Salve Regina Prayer…It is beautiful


I should have known better… Yes, I meant at the wake service and not the funeral itself.

A few years ago one of my wife’s aunts by marriage passed away and this gentleman who was not even a deacon announced right before the wake service to all “please stand up and greet the celebrant” who happened to be himself. He then lead all in attendance in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and after each decade he said he would have a short litany of saints. He would ask intercession of about 4 different saints but he would end with the name of the deceased and mention her as “Saint so & so, pray for us” There was not one, not a single prayer for the deceased. I told one of the daughters of the deceased of the importance of always praying for her mother and that this gentleman was wrong. The young girl later told me that her mother would always encourage her to pray for the deceased so she was going to do the same for her mother. The next day after the Funeral Mass, that gentleman was there again and I went and complained to the priest and he was shocked that no prayers were said for the deceased. He had a talk with this guy. I dont know who he was but another thing I failed to mention was that after the wake service he read a gospel passage and then spoke for about 15 minutes about himself and all many of his escapades during his early life. He was a jerk IMO…


Is their a certain format that one must follow at a catholic funeral?


Go back five posts and read stbruno’s response.


I was just at a funeral for my next door neighbor (46 yrs old) two days ago.She was a member of the First Lutheran Church. I had never been to a funeral at this church. Basically the pastor gave a uelogy(sp?) but no homily on the Gospel reading. The Gospel reading was John 20:1-10 the empty tomb!!!




That response accurately covered the Funeral Vigil .

There are also the Funeral Liturgy, the Rite of Committal, Vigil for the deceased with reception at church, separate rites for Children, special office (prayers) for the dead, prayers after death, gathering in the presence of the body, and more. Most have flexibility in them - but the Funeral Mass should not and it is the one that does not allow for eulogies.


I’m getting very distressed at our “Catholic” wake services lately. They hardly ever do the rosary any more. I totally disagree with this. I think they do this to make it more ecumenical, so the protestants who come don’t feel uncomfortable with the service. Please, I’m not trying to bash protestans or their beliefs at all, but I think that a Catholic person is entitled to a Catholic wake service. Personally, I want tons of people at my service to say the rosary for me. Say all 4 decades for me. I’m going to need all of the indulgences I can get!


My mother asked for a liturgical wake service. She felt the reading of Psalms and other Scripture was more in keeping with the service for the departed. The rosary you can say anytime, and the family did before departing from the funeral home to the church. For my dad we had what Father called the liturgical rosary, with a scripture reading for each decade of the rosary.

Often the family wish for the style they are most comfortable with.



Eulogies are banned and for good reasons. For a saintly person thery might be appropriate, but for Mr Average they are likely to be exercises in self-deception. Then you’ve got the problem that the funeral of a notorious criminal might become very embarassing.


I would expect to see a funeral done the catholic way at a catholic church. I dont think the CC should change anything for us protestants. I dont think the protestants change thing for catholics. I dont mind and would appreciate going to a catholic funeral or wedding and see it being done the catholic way.:thumbsup:


Thank you, and I agree that I would expect a protestant funeral for a protestant. Although I would probably have a mass said for them, and say the rosary for them on my own, anyway!:wink: I’m still gonna pray for you Catholic style, even if no one else knows about it!:slight_smile:


**Return to nearest relative’s home for refreshment and sharing memories of the deceased and catching up with those you haven’t seen in a while.

**[size=3]Of course that’s how we do it in the Irish Rite.
I was eleven when my grandmother died and everybody came to our house for the wake. I asked my Mom, “Why are we having a party?”


I would expect to see a funeral done the catholic way at a catholic church. I dont think the CC should change anything for us protestants. I dont think the protestants change thing for catholics.

AFH Exactly , This is what bothers me at times and many Catholics are afraid to offend non-catholics so they will leave out certain prayers.
Many, many years ago I used to attend a prayer meeting at the hall of our church and it was all praise to Jesus, but at the very end after the singing of the Our Father, we would recite the Hail Mary. But one evening we had visitors (who came on their own) from an AOG church because they had heard about our prayer meeting, the leader of our group said that in order not to offend them we skipped the Hail Mary. I wondered if a group of us had visited their prayer service they would have recited the Hail Mary for us.
On thing that upset me also some years ago was that at my mothers funeral, and also my two aunts during the rosary for each of them, we had many non-catholic friends who attended the wake service and they stayed for the rosary, except my brother, his wife and children who BTW left the Catholic Church many years ago, got up and left because they do not believe in “repetitive prayers” and they want nothing to do with anything Catholic.
Funny thing about my brother (who unfortunately I seldom see because they want nothing to do with us) used to have some burial plots they had purchase many years before at a Catholic Cemetery, sold them because as I said they wanted nothing to do with the CC and the claimed the Catholic cemetery was spooky. They said they bought some plots at another cemetery that they said was very beautiful and peaceful. Guess what? That particular cemetery was bought by the local diocese and turned into a Catholic Cemetery.

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