Celebrating the life of your loved one at Saint Jude the Apostle Parish Church
We, at Saint Jude, are here to walk with you as you enter into this time of bereavement and loss. Please know of our prayers for you now and in the days to come.
Planning a funeral, whether it’s for a deceased loved one or for yourself in advance, is never easy. And the task can seem even more daunting when religious traditions and beliefs, like those of the Catholic Church, are involved.
Luckily, you’re not alone in planning a Catholic funeral. According to Catholic tradition, every member of the Catholic Church is part of the Body of Christ. So when a member passes away, the whole community gets involved in carrying out the traditional funeral rites.
Planning a Catholic Funeral Service: Mass of Christian Burial
Come and Visit with us as we plan with you.
Our staff is here to help you plan a meaningful funeral for you or your loved one.
We prefer to have you come in to the church office so we can meet and pray with you. If you cannot come in for any reason, we can schedule virtual options with you or your loved one making the arrangements.
There are as many ideas of good music as there are music genres. For your church funeral, your music selection must be church songs/hymns that are in the current missal.
If you have a favorite song that cannot be used during Mass, you may want to play it during the luncheon or during a slide show.
We have prepared a music selection resource to help you with choosing songs. Because trends come and go with music, we cannot permit the use of secular music, even if it is played acoustically. If you have more questions, please contact the parish. The pastor, parish support ministers and our music director will be happy to help you with your selections.
The use of recorded music in the liturgy is not permitted in our church.
We use the church musicians for all funeral services.
Guest musicians are allowed with some limitations. They must work through the parish music director. Our director and/or organist will be present at all funerals.
Thank you for Choosing Saint Jude the Apostle Church for your funeral:
In addition to working with a funeral director, you’ll also work together with the pastoral staff at your loved one’s church. You should contact the church early on to find out who you need to speak to. You are in the right place to do that!
You’ll also provide this information to your funeral director so that the two can communicate about details like transportation, times, and dates.
If you’re not a member of the church yourself, you might feel hesitant to reach out. But keep in mind that planning and conducting funerals is one of the essential duties of the local Catholic church. They do this kind of thing on a regular basis, and they’ll be happy you contacted them if the person was a member of the parish.
Decide on the funeral service:
There are two types of Catholic funeral ceremonies, and you’ll have to choose one.
The Funeral Mass or Mass of Christian Burial is the most common and usually the preferred option for Catholic funerals. A Holy Mass is considered the highest form of prayer in Catholicism, and a Funeral Mass features a special Liturgy. The service must take place in a Catholic Church, and it includes selected readings from scripture. A Funeral Mass usually lasts around one hour.
The Funeral Liturgy outside Mass. You can, in some cases, conduct the Funeral Liturgy outside of the Holy Mass. You can celebrate the Liturgy in any church or chapel, and it lasts about half as long as a Funeral Mass. The Liturgy follows a similar format as the Funeral Mass, but it doesn’t include some prayers that are specific to a Mass.
Meeting with the Pastoral Staff
Choosing readings and music
A Catholic Funeral Mass features a number of readings and hymns. By meeting with the pastoral staff, you can choose the readings and music you would prefer for the funeral. Your loved one might have had favorite pieces of scripture, or they might have listed their preferences in their end-of-life plans.
Plan the Rite of Committal and reception
If you or your loved one chose burial, the Priest will accompany your family to the cemetery following the funeral. There, the Priest will recite traditional prayers to bless the burial and commit the person’s soul to God.
You’ll need to plan your funeral reception for after the funeral and the Rite of Committal.
At Saint Jude the Apostle Church, we do not charge a fee. It is customary to give a gift/donation to the priest, altar servers, and any other ministers present. Music ministry charges their own fees based on your celebration and are paid directly to them prior to the liturgy. You may also want to make a donation to the parish, but that is completely up to you and your families. Usually, when working with a funeral director, they take care of all these details for you in advance.
Attending a Catholic Funeral
If you’re planning a Catholic funeral for someone else, you’ll need to attend the service, too. And if you’ve never been to a Catholic funeral Mass before, you might not know exactly what to expect.
Luckily, you’ll be able to follow the lead of the Deacon or Priest throughout the service, and you won’t be called upon to take charge. The church and your funeral director will walk you through what you’ll need to do before, during, and after the service, so it’s a good idea to take note of those things.
And finally, all of the stress of planning and attending a Catholic funeral can take valuable time away from your own mourning period. So during the wake, funeral service, and burial, try to let go of those thoughts and take the time to say goodbye to the person you loved. The church is here to help you with the planning, so you can pray throughout the rest of the services without any additional stress or anxiety.
This website can assist in the selection of scriptural readings for the funeral Mass. There are suggested readings below. Although we cannot allow non-scripture readings, you may be called to choose a favorite reading from the Bible that is not on this list. You are most welcome to read a different Bible verse. Please make sure it meets the requirements below (e.g., the first reading for the funeral Mass should be from the Old Testament) and that it is taken from a Catholic Bible.
Order of a Funeral Mass
Sprinkling the Casket with Holy Water (done by the minister)
Placing of the Pall (sometimes done by family members –handed to the family by the funeral director)
Liturgy of the Word (SEE READINGS SECTION)
First Reading (taken from the Old Testament)
Psalm (sung by cantor)
Second Reading (taken from the New Testament)
Gospel Reading (from the Scripture list)
Intercessions/Petitions (see intercession section)
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Christians are baptized into the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sin and fullness of salvation. This mystery is celebrated in every Mass, remembering Christ’s loving deed and giving thanks and praise to God. The celebration reaches its high point as the priest concludes the Eucharistic Prayer, lifting up the vessels containing the Body and Blood of Christ.
Offertory/Presentation of Gifts song
Gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar table (by members of the deceased family if they so choose), and everything is prepared for the celebration.
Preparation of the Gifts & Altar
Communion ministers from the parish will assist in the distribution of Holy Communion.
Optional Meditational Song
Optional Eulogy (You may have members of the family or friends speak briefly about the deceased).
EULOGY FOR THE DECEASED
You may select one to two people to speak briefly at the end of Mass. There can also be a short eulogy at the vigil as well. It must be written down and no longer than three to five minutes. It is often stressful for people to say a eulogy so having it written down helps them communicate the message in a more effective manner. Mentioning the deceased history or interesting/funny stories is always enjoyable to the mourners present for Mass. The eulogy will take place after Communion.
LECTORS / READERS
You may select one to three people to read at Mass. One or two readers are more common. If two are chosen, there is one person who will read the scripture readings and another who will read the petitions. If there are three family members who want to participate, you may select one to read the Old Testament reading, one to read the New Testament reading, and one to read the intercessions/petitions. Keep in mind that it may be difficult for an immediate family member to proclaim the readings at the funeral Mass. The office of Lector is a skilled church ministry. If the family cannot provide the lectors, the church will provide a reader for you or the priest will read.
GIFT BEARERS / OFFERTORY PROCESSION
Family members such as grandchildren or friends are welcome to bring up the water, wine and bread during Mass. In addition, there are other special tributes that can be done during this time (e.g., each grandchild brings up a rose and places it in a vase; bringing up symbols representing the deceased life and placing them on the casket).