Order of the Funeral Mass


I have to serve a Funeral Mass tomorrow morning, and I haven't done one in forever. What is the order of the Funeral Mass? I need to figure out when I take what, and I know it will depend on the wishes of the priest, but having a general idea would help. Thanks!


I will type one out and post it in a few minutes.


This is a lineup if you have enough servers, like 3 or 4 or more. Obviously, if there’s less, it may change a little, but it should help you at least know what you’re talking about when you go tomorrow.

Introductory Rites - Usually beginning in the rear of the church, with the casket, or wherever the casket is
Items needed:
*]holy water
*]funeral pall
*]the Christian symbol (often a crucifix)
*]Order of Christian funerals
*]processional cross

Procession - usually accompanied by the hymn. Cross, [candlebearers,] other servers, [concelebrants, assisting deacons] celebrant, casket, with pall bearers, [mourners]
Skip directly to the collect (I believe, I don’t have the book in front of me), then continue as a normal Mass, of course with the readings and prayers from the ritual Mass. When the altar is incensed at the offertory, the casket may also be incensed.

Following the Post-Communion Collect
Final Prayers of commendation.
Items needed:
*]holy water (maybe, I can’t remember)
*] Incense (The priest may incense the casket at this time)
*]Order of Christian funerals
*]processional cross

During all the prayers, the crucifer takes his place holding the cross at the head of the casket, facing both the casket and the altar. If it is a priest, he takes his place between the altar and the casket, facing the casket.

Following the prayers and incense], the recessional will happen in the same order as the procession.


Thank you so much! The problem is is that I am the only one serving. They only ever do one server for a funeral unless the family requests certain people. I know that I will have to worry about the processional crucifix and the incense. We do the incense at the offertory and at the final commendation at a funeral. I think there would be incense the whole time if there were two or more servers. Is there a Penitential Rite or just an opening prayer?


I believe it goes right to the collect, although if your priest uses one of the lesser-used variants of the rite (there’s usually several variants for things like this), all bets are off, so run this by him.


Thanks. I will. I don’t know how he’s going to handle the Holy Water and book himself if I have the processional crucifix. :shrug:


He may have you skip the cross, or maybe he sets down the book, picks up the holy water, sprinkles, then picks up the book and leaves the water in back? I’m sure he has a system.


The Rite calls for sprinkling only once, either at the Reception of the Body or at the Final Commendation. Usually the aspergillum and water pot are placed where the priest will be using them.

We rarely have an altar server at funerals so we always have a family member carry the processional cross and then return to his/her place in the pew. Someone else, usually the sacristan or one of the women who are responsible for the Prayers at Time of Death and the rites at the funeral home if the priest is not available, is responsible for the incense - although recently we were told not to use incense because the priest has a breathing problem.


We normally do not have a server at funeral masses. I can only remember one funera lin which a server was present. Thus, our priest does it all.


The funeral was very simple today. I was expecting a lot worse. At the beginning we went to the back of the church where the casket was, and Father said a prayer and then sprinkled, then I processed in with the cross and went to my seat in the sanctuary. There was no Penitential Rite, and he did the Opening Prayer by himself. The Liturgy of the Word took place, and then at the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I took the Roman Missal, chalices, and ciboriums and set them on the altar with their appropriate purificators/cloths. Father then put incense in the censor, and he incensed the gifts and then the casket. He gave it back to me, and then I washed his hands. The consecration went as normal of course, and after Communion there was the Closing Prayer, and after that finished, I got the censor; Father put incense in, and he incensed for the Final Commendation, gave it back to me, and I got the processional crucifix, and we processed out. It was very simple. Now hopefully if I have to do it with a different priest in the future, it won't be too much different.


Sounds pretty standard for a one server funeral.

closed #12

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