Mass of Christian Burial
The following information is provided to assist in the preparation of the Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mercy. You are also invited to visit the Diocese of Providence’s Catholic Cemeteries website for more information.
The Rites of the Church
All the baptized are entitled to the full Rite of Christian Burial. You and your family will experience the Rite of Christian Burial in three distinct and important parts:
The Wake Service
This will take place during the visiting hours at the funeral home you have chosen. A member of the Parish Staff will lead this service of prayer and Scripture. At this time someone from the family, or a friend, may wish to remember the deceased by sharing personal memories, as in a eulogy.
The Funeral Liturgy
This is the most important part of the celebration of Christian Burial. This is almost always celebrated within a Mass. The bodily remains are honored by being brought to the Church. We celebrate the life of the deceased in the whole context of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
A parish priest or deacon will accompany the remains and the family to the cemetery, where the Rite of Christian Burial will conclude with the prayers of Committal and Final Commendation. Should one wish to speak in memory of the deceased, as in a eulogy or a remembrance, the Funeral Rite allows for such to usually take place as part of the Prayer of Commendation that will be prayed at the cemetery.
The Time and Place of the Funeral Liturgy
A funeral may be celebrated on any day of the week except Sundays and Holy Days. There are also some restrictions concerning funerals during Holy Week. The priest will discuss these restrictions as they apply.
The funeral liturgy is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church.
Planning the Funeral Liturgy
The funeral liturgy is one of the most beautiful and meaningful celebrations of the Church. Your family has the option of personalizing the Mass by choosing the Scripture readings and by requesting specific hymns.
When choosing scriptures, there should be one reading from the Old Testament, and one reading from the New Testament. Although you can choose from the whole Bible, the texts contained within this document are especially appropriate.
- All Readings
- New Testament Funeral Readings
- Old Testament Funeral Readings
- Gospel Readings
The Music Ministry at Our Lady of Mercy is under the direction of Mr. Henri St. Louis. Please contact Mr. St. Louis directly to plan appropriate music for the Funeral Mass at email@example.com or 884-4968. our Parish Solist is Mrs. Deirdre Donovan. ONLY THESE MUSICIANS CAN BE USED AT OUR LADY OF MERCY CHURCH
Please know that only sacred music is appropriate for a Mass of Christian Burial and only sacred music can be used at Our Lady of Mercy. Pop music, Broadway show tunes, Rock songs or folk songs are not appropriate for the Mass of Christian Burial. Please click here to view suggested music selections for the Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mercy.
Please note that the customary offering for use of Our Lady of Mercy for a Mass of Christian Burial is $200.00. This offering may only be waived directly by the Pastor. Please inform the parish of any financial difficulty a bereaved family may have so that the parish may assist them in their desire to properly remember the deceased. Also please note that very often the offering is waived for those parishioners who have been faithful and active members of the parish. Checks should be made in the amount of $500 ($200 for Church offering/$300 for musicians) payable to Our Lady of Mercy Church. If there is financial need, these offerings and fees may be waived by the pastor.
Remarks of Remembrance
The parish policy is as follows: Eulogies are not allowed, but brief Remarks of Remembrance about the deceased are allowed only if certain rules are followed. Eulogies are not permitted at a Catholic Funeral Mass. Instead it has become customary for many families to offer brief Remarks of Remembrance at the Mass of Christian Burial.
We encourage families to instead to write their own remembrances of the deceased and give them to the priest-celebrant so he may properly prepare the homily for the Mass. Remarks of Remembrance should properly be delivered at the burial site/chapel or at the collation/luncheon following the Mass. However, if Remarks of Remembrance are to be delivered at the Mass of Christian Burial in Our Lady of Mercy Church, family members and friends are reminded of the following guidelines:
• Only one person may deliver the Remarks of Remembrance
• These remarks are to be delivered after the Rite of Communion from the lectern and the person is to wait until invited forward by the celebrant of the Mass
• These remarks must not exceed five minutes, they must be brief. We ask you to remember the proverb: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” This proverb is based on the words of Polonius in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare: “Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief...”
• These remarks must be prepared in advanced, type-written, and limited to two pages double spaced
• A copy must be provided in advance of the Mass to the Pastor/Celebrant (via email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
• In preparing the Remarks of Remembrance please be mindful of the following:
o they must reflect the faithful departed’s Catholic faith and his/her relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church
o they must not focus upon the hobbies, cooking, pastimes, sports teams, pets, alcohol consumption, etc. of the deceased
o if humor is to be used it must be used with discretion
o the remarks should not be simply a re-reading of the deceased’s obituary
o there must be no use of bawdy humor, offensive words, or foul language at anytime
o these remarks are being offered at Holy Mass before Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and should reflect proper reverence and decorum.
o remember these remarks should not be trivial, light-hearted or exceedingly humorous but rather reflect the nature of the event namely Christian faith, hope and joy
Since the Providence Journal has changed its policies and procedures regarding obituaries, families may now prepare an obituary to their own liking. If the deceased is to receive a Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mercy, it should be listed in the obituary as “A Mass of Christian Burial.” The following are not only unacceptable and incorrect terms but must not appear in any obituary to include Our Lady of Mercy as the location:
- “A Celebration of the Life”
- “A Mass of Resurrection”
- “Funeral Service”