Why do we say a rosary at the funeral home the evening before the funeral?

It is sort of a traditional thing.

And it may be the best time when the most people are present.

[quote=fred conty;11327582**]It is sort of a traditional thing.

And it may be the best time when the most people are present.

And who would not want the Blessed Mother to be with the deceased to guide them to the FATHER??? The rosary is one of the most powerful prayers avaliable to us…pray it daily and if possible…twice a day.!!!

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Not only is it completely appropriate and helpful for the deceased, many find the prayer very soothing.

I am not really sure why. I was not raised Catholic. I converted to Catholicism from Protestantism in 2006. I assume that they pray the Rosary for the eternal rest and repose of the soul of the deceased.


I believe that the recitation of the Rosary is actually a portion of the Vigil Office for the Dead, vigil being the evening before the Mass/Burial.
As was mentioned, local customs seem very fluid (how many and which decades, etc.?) and the allowance for eulogies such as found at a wake service are commonly grafted onto the vigil.

The Rosary is not part of the Funeral Vigil in my Order of Christian Funerals. The eulogy, however, is.

But, depending on the community, it is not uncommon to see the Rosary added after the Vigil or the Vigil totally omitted in favour of the Rosary.

Thanks for the responses.

the rosary is out of tradtion , the vigil for theOrder of Christain Funerals is what should be done. In respect for the tradition the rosary can still be said at some point.

Dcn Frank

I think that it shows respect for the deceased and those mourning, rather than merely tradition. Seriously, who better than Mary would know the sorrow of a loss.

It is an ancient Christian to keep vigil at the body of a deceased loved-one, praying, until the burial, so that the body is never left alone. Praying the Rosary would be part of this, among other prayers. In some Eastern churches there is a tradition to read/chant the entire book of psalms over the body of the reposed.

In my area we very rarely see the Rosary recited at a wake. It is always the vigil service from the Rite of Christian Funerals. Sometimes if the deceased was part of a parish organization like the Rosary Society, they might attend the wake in the afternoon when there aren’t many people there and recite a decade of the Rosary, but I have never seen a whole Rosary.

Here, when a member of the Knights of Columbus or his spouse dies, the Knights pick one evening of the wake to pray the Rosary and it’s announced to the community. Sometimes the family will say that’s all they want and there is no Vigil but often one precedes the other.

In the community where I grew up, the Vigil is unknown and so are the prayers before closing the casket. From my experience when Mom & Dad died the priest will show up unexpectedly, say Order of Christian Funerals’ ‘Prayers when the family first gathers in the presence of the body’, without involving anyone at all. But in my present parish when we pray that prayer the family is invited to be involved in the placing of Christian symbols, in the reading, etc. and it’s always planned as well as we can with the family.

Of course I grew up with wakes that took place in the home and there people would pray the Rosary every couple of hours around the clock.

The Rosary is not always said. There may be other requests. I am a Cursillista, and many times, at the request of the family, our Cursillo community will gather at the funeral home and hold a vigil that includes song, Scripture, and a short homily given by a Priest or Deacon. I requested one for my mother-in-law and it was very beautiful.

Customs vary.

What we often forget, or maybe have never known as was my case before I started working at the church and became familiar with the ritual books, is that the Order of Christian Funerals provides for many rites between death and burial.

  1. Prayers immediately after death
  2. Prayers when the family first gathers in the presence of the body
  3. Funeral Vigil (In Canada, that’s when a friend or family member is invited to speak about the deceased.)
  4. Prayers when the body is being transferred to the church
  5. Funeral liturgy (In the US, that’s when a friend or family member is invited to speak about the deceased.)
  6. Committal at the cemetery

In our parish we attempt to do them all but some families are not interested in anything but the last two. I’ve been in a situation where I’ve been the one to provide 1, 2, 3 & 4 because the priest only flew in for 5 & 6.

I want them all!

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