The church offers us three services at the time of death in the family, each service builds on the other.
At the Vigil Service, usually conducted either in the funeral home or in the parish church on the eve of the Funeral Mass, the faithful keep watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and find strength in Christ's presence. The Vigil is a Scripture or Evening Prayer Service. This service is often the first gathering of the faithful friends with the family and those we cannot attend the Funeral Mass because of work or some other reason.
The tradition of the Church has always been the celebration of the Mass with the body present. This is the norm and it is encouraged that all have the Funeral Mass with the body present. Christians respect and honor the body of the dead, which in Baptism became the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Funeral Mass includes the reception of the body, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Final Commendation & Farewell. Recently the directives of the church have stated that we are to give the same respect to the remains in an urn as we do to the body in a casket. This means we welcome those families who wish the body of their loved one cremated.
For the final disposition of the body, it is the ancient Christian custom to bury or entomb the bodies of the dead in a cemetery, which means "resting place". The Rite of Committal is the conclusion of the funeral rites and may be celebrated beside the open grave or place of internment. The faithful express the hope that, with all those who have gone before marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection and passes into the welcoming company of those who see God face to face.
The Funeral Mass may not be celebrated in funeral homes or cemetery chapels. Funerals may be celebrated any day except solemnities of obligation, on Holy Thursday and during the Paschal Triduum and the Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Easter Season. In the Diocese of Palm Beach, it is the pastoral practice to refrain from celebrating funerals on all Sundays. The parish, in consultation with the Funeral Director and the family, determines the appropriate time for the funeral rites. Members or friends of the family are encouraged to be actively involved in the planning and celebration of the funeral rites. Planning of the funeral liturgy takes place during a visit with one of St. Lucy Catholic Church's Bereavement Minister at an appropriate time after death and before the vigil service. However, if pastoral and personal considerations allow, the period before death may be an appropriate time to plan the funeral rites with the family and even with the family member who is dying.
The family is asked to pick out two readings (one Old Testament Reading and one New Testament Reading). Suggested readings are listed below. We encourage you to choose family members or friends to proclaim these readings as well as the Prayers of the Faithful. Words of Remembrance give your family an opportunity to share the special qualities and memories of your loved one. Eulogies and Words of Remembrance are not part of the Funeral Mass Liturgy. Therefore, we do not allow this to take place during the Liturgy. We suggest this be done either at the Vigil Service, Cemetery or following the Liturgy at a Reception.
Flowers as symbols of resurrection and hope are to be used in moderation. However, they should never be placed on or around the casket during the Funeral Mass. Likewise, the flag should never cover the casket in church. Personal memorabilia is never placed on the altar nor carried with the gifts of bread and wine when mass is celebrated. A picture of the deceased may be placed in the sanctuary.
In every celebration for the dead, the Church attaches great importance to the reading of the Word of God. The readings proclaim the paschal mystery, i.e. the dying and rising of Jesus. They teach remembrance of the dead, convey the hope of being gathered together again in God's Kingdom and encourage the witness of Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of God's design for a world in which suffering and death relinquish their hold on all whom God called His own.Contact the Church
A Reading from the Book of Wisdom (3:1-6, 9) A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (25:6, 7-9) A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (43:1-7) A Reading from Ecclesiastes (3:1-12) A Reading from the Book of Lamentations (3:17-18, 22-26) A Reading from the Second Book of Maccabees (12:43-46) A Reading from the Book of Proverbs (31:10-31)