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Funeral Guidelines

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The Catholic funeral rites celebrate the mystery of our life, death and resurrection in Christ. Through Baptism we enter into this mystery. We live our lives in the hope of sharing eternal life with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit when we complete our passage through death. For Christians, death in Christ results in life in greater abundance. This new life, like a seed, was planted in us at Baptism, flowered during our lifetime, and at death yields a rich harvest. Faith in this mystery should motivate people arranging the funeral of a loved one. With this in mind, and praying with you in this time of grief and loss, we present the funeral guidelines for our Cathedral parish.

Planning the Funeral Service

The Cathedral clergy and staff meets with family members to assist them in planning for the funeral Liturgy [and/or wake service] of their loved one.  Planning includes assistance with choosing readings, music, and as well as assistance with logistics for the funeral Mass. The Cathedral also offers hospitality of a light lunch following the funeral hosted by the Cathedral guild volunteers. The local Funeral directors do an excellent job keeping the Cathedral clergy and staff in the loop whenever a death has occured within the parish community.

WHO CAN BE BURIED WITH A FUNERAL MASS
The Cathedral parish celebrates funeral services for current or former Cathedral parishioners and their relatives. The rector wil make a determination about other requests having no Cathedral parish connection.

Catholic burial, including the funeral Mass, is permitted for a baptized non-Catholic who might reasonably be presumed to desire or prefer Catholic burial services. Such a decision would be appropriate where the non-Catholic party worshiped regularly at the Catholic Church or identified with the Catholic Church more than any other. It would not be appropriate if the deceased were an active member of a non-Catholic Christian Church, except in cases where the minister of the deceased was unavailable. (Canon 1183.3)

Diocesan Policies for Funerals

Catholic Cemetaries in the Diocese of Kansas City~St. Joseph

FUNERAL TIMES
The Mass of Christian Burial is the primary service, customarily celebrated in the morning, reflecting the theme of resurrection. Procession to the cemetery and burial usually follows the Mass. An evening Mass of Christian Burial is an acceptable option, if more convenient for the family and mourners. In this case, the internment services would be held the following morning.

Funeral arrangements begin with a meeting with the funeral director. Next the Cathedral parish is contacted,[usually by the funeral home] where a priest will confirm the time for the funeral Mass. Later the Cathedral parish will contact the family to discuss the music and liturgy details of the Mass of Christian Burial.

A VIGIL OR WAKE SERVICE
A vigil service of prayer and scripture at the wake is optional. The Cathedral parish clergy leads the wake/rosary service. This service may be held at the funeral home or the church. At times near the major liturgical seasons of Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter, the church may not be available.

VIEWING THE BODY
This practice is highly encouraged, because it helps remove doubts that the loved one has truly died. If death occurs at home, hospital or nursing home, it is good to gather the family together at the scene of death to pray before the body is removed. The body should also be viewed at the funeral home. During the Mass of Christian Burial the casket is closed.

CREMATION
If the deceased is to be cremated, it is permissible to celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial with the cremated remains present. Church law requires the cremated remains be laid to rest in consecrated ground, either buried or kept in a mausoleum.

FLOWERS
Flowers are permitted. Cathedral parish staff will direct the placement of the flowers. Please be sure to remove, after Mass, only the flowers the family has brought in. The Cathedral parish welcomes donations of flower arrangements should the family wish it.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORABILIA
Memorial displays are encouraged at the wake at the funeral home. If some images are to be used in church, the display is to be kept simple and placed outside the sanctuary area.

 

CELEBRATING THE MASS OF CHRISTIAN

BURIAL AT THE CATHEDRAL.

Liturgical signs and symbols affirm our Christian belief during the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial. The Easter candle reminds us of Christ’s presence among the Christian community, His victory over sin and death, and our share in the victory by virtue of our baptism. The casket is sprinkled with holy water reminding us of the saving waters of baptism. The funeral pall reminds us of the white garment worn at baptism when we were born into eternal life. Incense is used during funerals as a sign of honoring the body of the deceased and is a symbol of our prayers rising to heaven before God.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE CATHEDRAL FUNERAL PLANNING SHEET.  Please download the PDF, complete the requested information and click the submit button to send it via email to the Cathedral.

MUSIC
Because the Mass is a public act of worship of the church, the Cathedral parish is ultimately responsible for the music in the liturgy. Hymns should reflect the idea of resurrection and hope. The Cathedral parish music and liturgy office will help you choose music that would be appropriate for the funeral Mass.

The entrance hymn, communion hymn and recessional hymn are music that the congregation should be encouraged to sing, as well as the usual service music and responses. Solos are more appropriate as a prelude, during the presentation of the gifts, and as a postlude after the recessional. Guest musicians must work through the Cathedral parish Music Coordinator. If they are not familiar with the Catholic liturgy, then a Cathedral parish cantor must be present at the funeral Mass. Use of recorded music in the liturgy is not permitted. CLICK HERE for music suggestions for funerals

READINGS
The Cathedral liturgy staff can assist in the selection of scripture readings. One reading from the Old Testament, one from the epistles, and a gospel reading. Non-scriptural readings are not permitted at Mass. CLICK HERE to read the Scripture Readings appropriate to funerals. Family members are encouraged to proclaim the readings at the funeral  Mass.  If it is too difficult for them to proclaim the readings, the Cathedral parish will provide a reader/lector for the funeral.

PALL AND CANDLE
The casket itself, though a center of reverence, is not the focus of attention at the Mass of Christian Burial. Rather, the focus is our hope of sharing eternal life and resurrection, promised at Baptism. During the entrance blessing, the casket is covered with a white cloth, a pall, as a reminder of the white garment used at Baptism. The Easter Candle, another symbol of Baptism will stand ahead of the casket. Usually it is immediate family members who place the funeral pall on the casket. The American flag, a symbol of military service, never covers the casket in church during the Mass.

ENTRANCE PROCESSION
The order of entrance is as follows: Servers, presider, casket, pallbearers, followed by the family (if not already seated). The same order is used as we leave the Church.

HOMILY
The homily is the sermon given by the priest or deacon after the gospel. It is meant to be a reflection on Christian life, death, and resurrection. This is not the time for a eulogy on the life of the deceased. Only an ordained priest or deacon is allowed to preach the homily at the funeral liturgy. Other persons may speak briefly at the wake service or at the beginning of the final commendation. A eulogy is never appropriate where a homily is prescribed (Order of Christian Funerals #27), but examples from the person's life may be used in the homily.

PRESENTATION OF GIFTS
Members of the immediate family are encouraged to bring the gifts forward as a symbolic way of offering their loved one to God. We encourage Catholics to receive communion under both species. If you have family members who are commissioned Eucharistic Ministers, (even from another parish) they are permitted to assist. Otherwise, the Cathedral parish will provide Eucharistic Ministers.

EULOGY

In 1989 the Vatican published the revised Order of Christian Funerals (OCF) for the United States. The long-standing prohibition of eulogies at Catholic funerals was again upheld and restated. "A brief homily based on the readings should always be given at the funeral liturgy, but never any kind of eulogy." [OCF # 141] In the revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal promulgated by John Paul II in year 2000 (GIRM 2000), this prohibition of eulogies was again restated: "At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind."

The eulogy therefore is NOT part of the Mass of Christian burial. Eulogies that recounts the life of the deceased by family members or friends are encouraged and most appropropriate at the wake service and at the cemetery/graveside or at the luncheon following the funeral. Some families use the wake service for a time of memories for the deceased with an open podium.

CHURCH STIPEND, FEES FOR FUNERALS
Most funeral homes itemize all costs within their billings. Included should be the church-priest/deacon stipend, and the musicians' [organist and cantor] checks.   The Cathedral prefers that all the stipened arrangements be completed by the funeral home rather than the family taking care of stipends on their own. The office of Music and Liturgy makes arrangements with resident Cathedral cantors for ALL funeral and wake services taking place at the Cathedral. Funeral directors should contact the Cathedral office of music and liturgy to inquire about the fee schedule. 816-842-0416 x119 or preferably by email. mpearson@kcgolddome.org

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