I have heard it said that The Mass brings us as close as we can possibly get to our deceased family members. How does it do that ? At what point in the Mass does this occur ?
Family members must be seen as the family of Christ, and not merely our blood relatives. As well, what you ask applies only to those family members in purgatory or heaven. We cannot draw closer to those who are lost, except if we are finally lost ourselves. Look into the meaning of the communion of Saints. All who believe, and are baptized, are members of the Body of Christ. Thus we have a certain union, in the spiritual realm, with all who have gone before us. Think of it this way: You have an ancestor who has been declared Saint by the Church. You may draw nearer to them during the mass, as the mass is the Church’s greatest prayer, and it is via prayer that our petitions are united with the entire Body of Christ and rise to the Father. This has notheing to do with the occult practice of divining spirits or of necromancy - that is a common fallacy that is perpetuated by those who are ignorant of the Catholic faith. Do you have a copy of Catholicism for Dummies? It i s an excellent resource on the faith that every Christian should have.
I take a moment before communion to recognize that by receiving His body I will be in unity with Christ, with God and with my deceased loved ones. They are with God and God is coming into us at the Eucharist, and we are entering more fully into Him, His mystical body, the Communion of Saints and all who are with Him.