Planning your own funeral?

Do we have people here, who are not expecting the angel of death to visit in the immediate future, planning their own funerals?

Mine is pretty well tied up (it’s been a work in progress for decades – it changes as I do.)

Have you written an epitaph for your tombstone?

If so, how and to whom have you made your wishes known?

The priests and deacons of the diocese I am in just had mandatory meetings to discuss funeral arrangements. We (deacons and priests) are obliged to provide arrangements to our diocese specifying the options that we choose in the liturgy (of the things that are variable). We choose what type of vigil (Liturgy of the Hours, etc.), the readings and songs for the Mass, who presides, who are the readers, the homilist, etc.

One of my fellow deacons and I were commenting that, when someone knows the liturgy, it can be a very beautiful expression of the life of the person and their attachment and devotion to the Lord when they have expressed their wishes in the liturgies of Christian Burial.

For example, I have a deep love of the Liturgy of the Hours, and have chosen to have it prayed in the evening prior to my Funeral Mass. There are readings that I find particularly beautiful and expressive of my love of God, and I have asked for them to be read. I have friends who are marvelous preachers, and have asked for one of them to preach at my funeral.

(all of a sudden, I realize that this could sound very macabre)

Anyway, I would recommend to anyone who is familiar with the liturgy, yes, do explore planning your own funeral liturgies. There are legal documents that are executed at your death, and you could certainly specify that those plans be forwarded to a responsible party, or you could designate a family member or responsible party to make your wishes known.

If you have questions, or are not as familiar with the liturgy, you may want to ask your priest or deacon for assistance with the planning. You might also get assistance from the people at Catholic Cemetaries of your diocese.

As to epitaphs, I find myself wanting my stone to say “A ‘good and faithful servant’”, but I can’t bring myself to be so bold.

Well, I can’t say that I planned the funeral mass, but I did purchase and pay for the plot in my church cemetery. Not a bad idea, for it is usually cheaper to buy it ahead of time, and one may personally pick out their resting place. It is too hard on the family at a time in their life when these decisions can be overwhelming due to their grief.

Funny you should ask, because this morning I had a Power of Attorney notarized so my affairs could be handled by my family instead of the courts should I become incompetent, and to protect myself in case of a terminal illness and permanent unconsciousness. This document spells out in detail which medical procedures are not to be used to prolong the process of dying - such as tube feeding, mechanical respiration, cardiac resuscitation, etc.

One may name in the document who is authorized to make these medical decisions on your behalf. Without such a legal paper, the physician may continue costly and needless medical procedures as he deems necessary.

Too often these important matters are neglected and cause very expensive legal problems for the family. I have been putting it off far too long myself, so I can appreciate that others might not find that it is a priority.

Carole

I kind of have an idea of what I would like.
[list=1]
*]simple pine-box coffin
*]epitaph would read “I was dust, and to dust I have returned”, plus whatever my loving spouse would put upon my gravestone
*]a small, humble gravestone
*]no open casket at my wake, or at my funeral (only my beloved spouse would see me)
*]definitely a funeral mass, but with no eulogy… my loving spouse can give a eulogy at the burial
*]14 days after my burial my will would be read, in which I would give everything to my loving spouse
*]I would want to be burried in a Catholic cemetary
[/list]
I don’t know what else I could add to this list… maybe I’ll ask for some input from those close to me. For now… that’s how I’d like it.

God bless,

Agricola

My youngest expressed a desire to have a one-day wake with an open casket, so I opted for that.

I’ll be buried next to my husband in a military cemetary.

I have a small safe in my closet with my will and other important papers, and I have told my children that I have written on pieces of paper what music I’d like played, and what readings I’d like.
(that has changed several times).

On the back of certain pictures and nice items I own I have already taped the names of the children I want to have them. (Some of them, over the years, have said “that is a beautiful picture, hand made quilt,…, etc.”, so I knew they liked it and put their name on it, or wrote it on a slip of paper and put it in the safe.
Others less vocal I have given a pretty good guess at what they would like.

[quote=TableServant]The priests and deacons of the diocese I am in just had mandatory meetings to discuss funeral arrangements. We (deacons and priests) are obliged to provide arrangements to our diocese specifying the options that we choose in the liturgy (of the things that are variable). We choose what type of vigil (Liturgy of the Hours, etc.), the readings and songs for the Mass, who presides, who are the readers, the homilist, etc.

One of my fellow deacons and I were commenting that, when someone knows the liturgy, it can be a very beautiful expression of the life of the person and their attachment and devotion to the Lord when they have expressed their wishes in the liturgies of Christian Burial.

For example, I have a deep love of the Liturgy of the Hours, and have chosen to have it prayed in the evening prior to my Funeral Mass. There are readings that I find particularly beautiful and expressive of my love of God, and I have asked for them to be read. I have friends who are marvelous preachers, and have asked for one of them to preach at my funeral.

(all of a sudden, I realize that this could sound very macabre)

Anyway, I would recommend to anyone who is familiar with the liturgy, yes, do explore planning your own funeral liturgies. There are legal documents that are executed at your death, and you could certainly specify that those plans be forwarded to a responsible party, or you could designate a family member or responsible party to make your wishes known.

If you have questions, or are not as familiar with the liturgy, you may want to ask your priest or deacon for assistance with the planning. You might also get assistance from the people at Catholic Cemetaries of your diocese.

As to epitaphs, I find myself wanting my stone to say “A ‘good and faithful servant’”, but I can’t bring myself to be so bold.
[/quote]

This is beautiful! And it is EXACTLY why I have begun to outline careful plans. I have a deep appreciation of the liturgy also and hope to carry that through at my funeral. (Besides, if anybody plays “Eagle’s Wings,” I’m gonna jump up out of the box and come a-runnin’ after 'em. Oh. The “box” will come from the Trappists at New Melleray.

I have specified that my wedding march, Bach’s “Sleepers Wake,” be played as an organ prelude.

Epitaph: The opening verse of Psalm 108: O God, my heart is ready. The next line of that psalm is “I will sing, sing and give praise.”

[quote=Joysong]Well, I can’t say that I planned the funeral mass, but I did purchase and pay for the plot in my church cemetery. Not a bad idea, for it is usually cheaper to buy it ahead of time, and one may personally pick out their resting place. It is too hard on the family at a time in their life when these decisions can be overwhelming due to their grief.

Funny you should ask, because this morning I had a Power of Attorney notarized so my affairs could be handled by my family instead of the courts should I become incompetent, and to protect myself in case of a terminal illness and permanent unconsciousness. This document spells out in detail which medical procedures are not to be used to prolong the process of dying - such as tube feeding, mechanical respiration, cardiac resuscitation, etc.

One may name in the document who is authorized to make these medical decisions on your behalf. Without such a legal paper, the physician may continue costly and needless medical procedures as he deems necessary.

Too often these important matters are neglected and cause very expensive legal problems for the family. I have been putting it off far too long myself, so I can appreciate that others might not find that it is a priority.

Carole
[/quote]

Uh-huh! You have done your family a favor. :thumbsup:

Every time I have surgery, I revise it. It includes some choir anthems that mean a lot to me (hoping my fellow choristers care enough to sing for me). I especially want the text, “Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.” I vacillate over the setting I want of that one.

I, too, will rise up and smite anyone daring to sing “Eagles’ Wings” or “Be Not Afraid.” And there’s always the instruction, for heaven’s sake, don’t ASSUME I’m in heaven and not pray FOR my soul. There’s no kindness in that!

And my most important request is that the priest hear confessions at the funeral home the night before so my death might be the occasion of someone else’s salvation, or at least so no one has to decide whether to receive Communion or not because they’re in a state of sin and have no way to get to confession before the funeral Mass.

Betsy

I already have my plot picked out and paid for in Allegheny Cemetery. And I have a sufficient amount of funds set aside so that there should be no arguments on how the funeral ought to be paid for.

I’d like to have my funeral not far from the cemetery and the funeral home, so that the folks don’t have too far to drive, I have a lot of elderly relatives.

I want baked chicken and rigatonis at the luncheon.

Well, I may be quite young…but I’ve attended some wakes and funerals lately, and have decided some things which I told my parents seriously to make sure they remember should I die before them:

  1. I want to be buried in pajamas. I see all these people in their caskets with suits on. Who lies down in a suit?! They all look like they are sleeping; they have their heads on a pillow, resting in the coffin, covered with a sheet…except they’re in a suit! Seems uncomfortable to me, and not very good for the suit. No one sleeps in a suit in real life, and I am infamous in my house for hating fancy clothes in general…I want to be in comfy pajamas.

  2. When they drain my blood to embalm me, I want it saved in jars in the foot of my casket. I don’t really know why…but I don’t want them just disposing of it, I want it there with me.

  3. I want a metal plaque engraved with information of me put in the casket so if there is a flood or earthquake they know who it is. Or if they find me in a million years or something. I know in the South they do this where flooding is a problem, but it is not done usually where I live. Nevertheless, I want it done.

I have written my plans on my funeral on my mobile phone.

This is what i want:

A simple wooden brown coffin
I wear a brown suit (as a third order franciscan)
Crucifix on my hand
Image of St. Francis of Assisi with crucified Christ above my coffin
On the duration of my funeral i want a continuous playing of chants.
Liturgy on the duration of my funeral

In the Church:

Litanae Sanctorum be chanted (as prayer)
Psalms 23 and 51 be sung
Peace prayer of st. francis be sung
Canticle of St. Francis be recited
Franciscan priest celebrate the liturgy

After the internment:
They will offer a novendiale mass for my soul.

[quote=baltobetsy]And my most important request is that the priest hear confessions at the funeral home the night before so my death might be the occasion of someone else’s salvation, or at least so no one has to decide whether to receive Communion or not because they’re in a state of sin and have no way to get to confession before the funeral Mass.

Betsy
[/quote]

I have never heard anything so beautiful in my life! What a wonderful idea.

You know this was something that I encountered at my Grandfather’s funeral last March. We were in such a tizzy for the 10 day period prior to his funeral between traveling and planning etc, that we had missed our Sunday obligation. So I approached Father the evening before the funeral for confession- and he was quite surprised, but of course very gracious.

I agree this is an excellent and kind thing to include in your funeral plans :slight_smile:

I tend to plan my husband’s funeral, rather than my own. (men die first you know:rolleyes: ). I have told him I will have him laid out in a polar bear suit, in a pine shipping crate with the words “Return to Sender” painted on the side.

I have also “threatened” him with some other actions over the years as I heard about them. One was that you could cremate your loved one and have their ashes made into just about anything plastic. (The guy who invented the frisbee did this). I threatened to have DH turned into an action figure so I could give him to the grandchildren to play with. My mom said she’d put dad in an hour glass so she could turn him over once in a while to aggitate him.

Another thing was a company that will turn your dearly departed into a diamond. (We are carbon based, after all) I think their company is called Life Gems. At one time their slogan was “Urns are nice, but you can’t wear them with everything.” No kidding. I told Dh that if I start trying to fatten him up it is because I wanted a bigger diamond.

These are of course, idle threats. Right?:hmmm:

[quote=TAS2000]I tend to plan my husband’s funeral, rather than my own. (men die first you know:rolleyes: ). I have told him I will have him laid out in a polar bear suit, in a pine shipping crate with the words “Return to Sender” painted on the side.

I have also “threatened” him with some other actions over the years as I heard about them. One was that you could cremate your loved one and have their ashes made into just about anything plastic. (The guy who invented the frisbee did this). I threatened to have DH turned into an action figure so I could give him to the grandchildren to play with. My mom said she’d put dad in an hour glass so she could turn him over once in a while to aggitate him.

Another thing was a company that will turn your dearly departed into a diamond. (We are carbon based, after all) I think their company is called Life Gems. At one time their slogan was “Urns are nice, but you can’t wear them with everything.” No kidding. I told Dh that if I start trying to fatten him up it is because I wanted a bigger diamond.

These are of course, idle threats. Right?:hmmm:
[/quote]

My dh has said repeatedly, “I want to be cremated.” I got so tired of hearing it (one repetition is OK, after that it gets macabre) that I finally said, “Look, where you’re going, you’re going to burn anyway, so why bother?”

When he does go (as his Italian forebears would say, Cent’ an’!), he’s going to find out I lied. He will be in a good place. :love:

[quote=TAS2000]I tend to plan my husband’s funeral, rather than my own. (men die first you know:rolleyes: ). I have told him I will have him laid out in a polar bear suit, in a pine shipping crate with the words “Return to Sender” painted on the side.

*etc., snipped
[/quote]

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

I’ve threatened to put on my wife’s side of the tombstone “See–I told you I was sick!” She didn’t think it was funny.

DaveBj

[quote=DaveBj]:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

I’ve threatened to put on my wife’s side of the tombstone “See–I told you I was sick!” She didn’t think it was funny.

DaveBj
[/quote]

I’m going to have that put on mine. :rolleyes:

One of my older cousins just passed away last night. He had always been sort of a rough character, and they had him laid out in jeans and a flannel shirt. SU and I both thought it was very appropriate.

DaveBj

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