Funeral Ministry

We believe that death is not an end, but a beginning; that through death, we pass from this present, temporary life into a perfect eternal life with God in heaven. The Funeral Mass especially expresses this faith in Jesus' victory over death and our share in the Resurrection- through the prayers and blessings, songs and Scripture readings, ceremonies and symbols. People generally associate the color black with funerals and mourning, but the priest's vestments for the funeral liturgy are white- which is the liturgical color for Easter, weddings, and baptisms- joyful celebrations. We are not merely grieving, but celebrating the loved one's entrance through death into eternal life.

The Catholic Funeral Rite is divided into three parts, each has it purpose and therefore it is strongly encouraged that you celebrate each: the Vigil Service (Wake), Funeral Liturgy (Mass of Christian Burial) and Rite of Committal (Burial or Interment).

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 is usually at the funeral home during the visitation and viewing (the wake can also take place at the church).

The Vigil Service can be readings from Sacred Scripture, with reflection and prayers. Prayers of the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours can also be used; members of St. Patrick's Altar & Rosary Society are also available to pray the Rosary with the deceased's family and friends.

The Vigil Service is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God and allows others to share in our grief and lend us their support in prayer. It is appropriate, at the visitation to recall the life of the deceased, and therefore, eulogies are encouraged to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service. This would also be the time for you to share pictures of the deceased's life.The funeral ministry and your funeral director can assist in planning such a service.

The Funeral Liturgy (Mass of Christian Burial)

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.
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.

A member of our Funeral Ministry team will meet with you to help you plan the Mass of Christian Burial for your loved one (if you would like to pre-plan your own, that can be arranged as well).The Catholic liturgy always provides courage and comfort for those mourning the passing of their loved one. The more family and friends actively plan and participate in the ceremony, the deeper the strength and consolation they experience.

During you and your family's meeting with the Funeral Ministry, you will chose songs and Scripture readings, decide who you would like to have read, bring up the gifts, etc. The priest will give a homily based on your choice of Scripture readings.

If you would like us to print a funeral program to help facilitate active participation by all those present- let our team member know.

Rite of Committal (Burial or Interment)

This is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of the deceased. It is celebrated at the place of committal, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body of the deceased to its resting place, we express 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.

After the committal, our Funeral Ministry will provide a funeral luncheon for family and friends, if you wish. Your Funeral Home Director will call the parish to schedule the date and time of the funeral;  a Funeral Ministry team member will then contact you to set up a meeting to plan the Liturgy.

If you would like to pre-plan, contact the Rectory Office.

For information about Catholic teaching regarding end of life issues, click on "I am the Resurrection and the Life" below.
saint patrick,
Jul 20, 2016, 8:46 AM