Funerals

In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection and that all who have died with Christ in baptism will be raised with him to new life.

Raised to new life...

In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection and that all who have died with Christ in baptism will be raised with him to new life. The Catholic funeral rite is divided into three parts each with its own purpose. Families may not wish to do all three parts or may want to, for example, hold the visitation the evening before the funeral Mass. Please know that we will do everything we can to provide for you what is most meaningful to your family and friends.

It is not necessary to be a parishioner of San Pedro Catholic Church in order for us to assist you. Also, your efforts to seek information ahead of time regarding a catholic funeral are welcome and we are happy to answer your questions about Catholic funerals.

To arrange a funeral please call Daphne at 941-426-2500 or email daphne.johnson@sanpedrocc.org 

Vigil Service (Wake)

“At the vigil, the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 56). The Vigil Service usually takes place during the period of visitation and viewing at the funeral home. It is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God. In prayer, we ask God to console us in our grief and give us the strength to support one another.

The Vigil Service can take the form of a Service of the Word with readings from Sacred Scripture accompanied by reflection, rosary, and prayers. It can also take the form of one of the prayers of the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours. The clergy and your funeral director can assist in planning such a service.

It is most appropriate when family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, eulogies are usually encouraged to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.

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Funeral Liturgy

The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated, a funeral liturgy outside Mass can be celebrated at the church or in the funeral home.

At the funeral liturgy, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral liturgy, therefore, is an act of worship, and not merely an expression of grief.

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Burial or Interment

The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection.

The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer but see God face-to-face.

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Catholic Funeral Questions Explained

What do you wear to a funeral mass?
A funeral mass is held in a church, so a dark suit for men or dark dress or pantsuit for women is appropriate. Clothing should cover the shoulders and knees and jewelry should be kept simple.

Can a Catholic funeral be held on a Sunday?
Traditionally, Catholic funerals are not held on Sundays, although there can be exceptions. Sundays are meant to be reserved for regular church services.

How soon after death is a Catholic funeral?
Funerals take place anywhere from two days to one week after death, but typically occur within three days or so.

What is a rosary ceremony?
A Catholic funeral actually consists of three parts, each of which may occur at different times. The first part is the Vigil service, which takes place at the wake. Next is the Funeral Mass, which is the traditional funeral ceremony. Finally, there is the Rite of Committal. Reciting the Rosary, or a set of prayers, is a tradition that’s performed at the wake.

What is traditional Catholic Funeral etiquette?
The atmosphere at a Catholic funeral is typically somber and respectful, so people should dress accordingly. For the Catholic church, that is interpreted as black, semi-formal clothing. Men should wear a suit and tie or at least a sports coat and tie. Women should wear a black skirt or dress or pantsuit. If black clothing is not available, attendees should aim for wearing the darkest semi-formal clothes they have. It is no longer required that women wear hats, although some do. Men should absolutely not wear a hat in the church. Sending flowers is always appreciated, but choose an arrangement that is fitting for a somber church atmosphere (no stuffed animals or balloons).

What traditions are specifically Catholic?
As you would expect, a Catholic funeral is traditionally held in a Catholic church, though it may also be held at a funeral home. The service tends to be led by a Catholic priest, who will deliver a sermon likely to include commemorating snippets from the deceased’s time on Earth. With a Catholic service, as opposed to other Christian funerals, there tend to be more rites performed. This includes a funeral mass, which symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. There will also be music throughout the service.