On Behalf of the entire St. John the Evangelist Community, we express our condolences to you at the loss of your loved one. We will be making the journey with you over the next few days. Someone from the Pastoral Staff will contact you when the church is notified of a death. We are available to help in whatever way is best for you and we assure you of our prayers and support
When a loved dies… please know we are there for you. You can contact the Parish Office to arrange for an appointment with the Priest to begin Funeral Liturgy planning by calling 732-8521
The Funeral Rites
In the funeral rites of the Church we commend the departed to God’s mercy, pray that we ourselves might be consoled and renewed in hope of eternal life, and thank God for the gifts and blessings our loved one received in this life. It also provides the opportunity to say a proper farewell. The Catholic funeral has in 3 parts.
First – In the Vigil (or wake), we begin to accept the finality of death by viewing the body, gather as a community for mutual support and prayer, and share memories of the one we have lost. (The Vigil service is the most appropriate time for eulogies.)
Second – In the Funeral Mass, we pray for the forgiveness of the departed through the merits of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. (A family member or friend may speak briefly about the life of the deceased.)
Third – At the Committal (or burial), we commend our loved one to God as we take our leave in the hope of ultimate reunion in Heaven.
Although cremation is now permitted by the Church (as long as it is not viewed as a denial of the ultimate resurrection of the body), it is still preferred that the body of the deceased be present for the Funeral Mass if at all possible. It is through the body that we come to know a person; it is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, washed in the waters of Baptism and fed with the body of Christ. The body is therefore treated with tremendous reverence — and so should the cremated remains of a body. They should therefore be buried in a grave or columbarium, where a person’s memory may be enshrined. The remains should not kept in one’s home (who will take care of them in later years?), or scattered to the winds.
During the month of November, we remember in a special way all those who have gone before us in the previous year. We recognize that Christ gave His life that all might have eternal life, and that His risen and glorified Body is the pattern of what we hope to become. We recall that through our Baptism we were welcomed into the Communion of Saints and can therefore continue to pray for one another even after death. For it is our hope that death is not an ending, but the beginning of a transformation into a glorious existence; the bonds forged by love in this life cannot be broken by death, for they have been taken up into that Love which loves until the end — and beyond.
A guide for the speaker at the funeral liturgy
You have been invited by the family to offer some words of remembrance at the funeral liturgy for someone who was important to them. We ask that there be only one speaker. This is an honor and a responsibility. This guide is to help you plan your remembrance and to deliver it well.
The primary focus during the days immediately following death is on the family—making funeral preparations and dealing with their own feelings and needs. The wake is a time to focus on the deceased—a time to tell the stories that gave meaning to the many relationships that have been a part of that person’s life.
When we get to the Church for the funeral liturgy, the focus shifts to what Jesus has done for us and how our faith offers us hope. It marks the end of an earthly journey that began in the context of faith at baptism and continues with a new life in God. It is within this context that you are asked to prepare your remembrance—to remember the ways a person was faithful to their Baptism call by loving God and loving their neighbor. It is not a place to list accomplishments or summarize the deceased life story. Rather, if you share a single blessed memory that indicates the deceased faith and character, the hearers can recognize their giftedness as God-given and how they shared that gift with others. Keep in mind that the purpose of the liturgy is to thank God for the resurrection of Jesus and to express hope that the deceased will share in that resurrection and to pray for strength to continue to faithfully continue the journey.
- Use your own words and speak from your own experience.
- Prepare your remembrance in writing. It makes your delivery easier for you and your thoughts clearer to the listener.
- Avoid inside jokes or humor which may be misunderstood.
- Begin by praying that you will honor the person you are speaking about and that your words will be a witness to his or her faith and a blessing to family and friends.
- You might read the scripture texts that the family has selected. It may bring to mind a specific quality or an incident or a deed which symbolizes his or her faith.
- Please keep you remembrance short – between 3 and 5 minutes. That is about one page of printed text.
Again, please remember that the funeral liturgy in the Catholic Church is Christ centered
All praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ – for the gift of life and having shared life.