Catholic Funeral Services
You would be surprised at how beautiful Catholic Funeral Services are if it is your first time attending one. Most Catholic Funeral Services are solemn events celebrating the life of the deceased. The Funeral Services are usually filled with rich rituals and customs that have been cultivated for centuries.
Cornerstone of the Catholic Faith
Similar to Christians, Roman Catholics believe that once a person dies, they remain asleep until Jesus's second coming [1 Cor 15:50-57]. When Jesus returns, both the righteous and wicked would be raised to life differently. The righteous will be raised to life with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God [1 Thes 4:16]; while the wicked will be resurrected into condemnation [John 5:28-29].
The main idea is that we Catholics have nothing to fear about death because of the fact that Christ has conquered the grave. As aptly written in the bible to remind us that we need not fear death itself: ' Death is swallowed up in victory - 1 Cor 15:52,54'. We have to be reminded time and again to take heart in knowing that ultimately we will enjoy reunion with our loved ones in Heaven
However, Roman Catholics also believe in Purgatory. Purgatory is an intermediate state after physical death on Earth. It is for those who have committed forgivable sins and are unable to enter Heaven directly. Instead, they have to undergo purification first before attaining the holiness needed to enter the joy of Heaven.
The usual Roman Catholic Funeral Services includes 3 main elements :
1. The Vigil/Wake
Families, friends and relatives gather to pay respect to the dearly departed during the wake. The wake can be held at a funeral home, a funeral parlour, a church, at void decks or even at home. During the vigil, words of comfort and encouragement are provided to immediate family members to help them tide through this difficult time. A Priest/Church Minister would usually lead the prayers followed by the presentation of eulogies and memorials. The singing of hymns and secular music may also be incorporated into The Vigil.
2. Funeral/Memorial Mass
The Mass is held at the church. Upon arrival at the Church entrance, the Priest would sprinkle holy water onto the casket housing the dearly departed. At the same time, the casket will be covered with a white pall. The casket will then be transported to the front of the Church. Here, symbols of the Catholic faith - the bible and the crucifix would be placed on the casket by immediate family members. Sermons from the Bible would be read as well as a Homily and a Psalm. This procession ends with the Eucharist Prayer after which Holy Communion is received.
3. Rite of Committal
This is the final stage of Catholic Funeral Services where prayers would be recited at the final resting place. The final resting place could be an open grave of the place of internment. The Rite of Committal expresses the communion that exists between the Church on Earth and the Church in Heaven; where the dearly departed proceeds on to see God face-to-face.
During the Catholic Funeral Services, the family of the deceased should communicate directly with the funeral home (funeral parlour) and the parish church. Make sure to appoint someone in the family that will establish this level of communication. To ease your burden, do engage us to facilitate this entire process as well.