[quote="anruari, post:14, topic:277757"]
What surprised me, attending the first funeral since I left Ireland was the differences:
1) the body was never brought to the home. it was treated as a totally alien idea.
I grew up with wakes in the home but once funeral parlours started opening, people appreciated not having a houseful of people around the clock and took advantage of the limited visiting hours at the funeral parlours.
2) there was therefore no procession to the church. - it was brought from the funeral parlour to the church on the day.
In my home town even using the funeral parlour does not preclude having a funeral procession. Family and friends gather at the funeral parlour and follow the hearse to the church.
In the town where I live now such a procession to the church very rarely happens since the body is brought to the (usually empty) church at least an hour before the funeral.
3) the body did not stay overnight in the church! - in Ireland that would be unheard-of.
In Ireland the body would normally be laid out at home for at least one night - the traditional time for a wake (in England they seem to think a "wake" is the reception after a funeral)
In this town before the advent of the funeral parlour it was not rare to have the body waked in the church (instead of the home) for three nights. Now that tradition is slipping away since the cost is the same once the funeral director gets his hands on the body.
In my hometown, having the dead waked in the church is unheard of unless it's a priest.
It would then be carried - on foot if close enough- to the local parish church the night before the funeral - typically around 5 pm - known as "The removal of the remains" occasionally this was on the morning of the funeral.
If the persons house could not accommodate having the body laid out it would normally be kept at the church for at least 24 hours. - sometimes across a weekend. My parish church removed benches from in front of one of the side chapels as this happened more often - setting up effectively a "chapel of rest"
The rubrics - as I understand it - specifically require that a catholic funeral should have - as a minimum - a funeral at the church - followed by a committal at the graveside or crematorium.
As a very minimum I feel the coffin should be lowered into the grave and a few handfuls of soil put over it. The reasons for not doing this are probably due to not wanting or not having available the labourers who's job it is to lower the coffin and fill the grave.
I've experienced different things at that point. I've been to funerals where they have equipment that mechanically lowers the coffin into the grave. More often than not they would start to lower it about 6", stop and let people throw their handful of dirt and then complete the lowering after most of the people have left.
Here the coffin is usually lowered into the grave by the pallbearers and often the family and friends complete the burial by filling the grave. In the parish where I grew up that's all done by the funeral home.