After your visit to the funeral home, the church office is officially informed of the date, time, and type* of the funeral by the funeral home director.
*If the body or ashes of the deceased are present, then a Mass of Christian Burial is celebrated. If neither is present, a Memorial Mass is celebrated. There is very little difference in these two Masses.
A member of the Parish Bereavement Support is then notified and will call you to make an appointment with you to visit you for a Consolation Call/Funeral Planning Visit. He or she will be your representative to the Church and will handle many details for you, as well as pray for you and your family. This planning meeting may take place in your home or at the church. Time is of the essence, so it is important to arrange this visit as soon as possible after the death notification.
During this visit, you will be asked to make several decisions as you and the Minister of Consolation, as well as participating family members or friends, together plan the Mass.
Planning a loved one’s funeral may sound morbid, but it actually is a strong sign of love and faith. Choosing the readings or particular songs that were your loved one’s favorites is a privilege and, years from now, you will remember the beauty of the “customized, personalized” Mass for your loved one. Your participation in the planning process is part of the healing process for you. At a time when you may feel helpless and unfocused, this planning provides you with concrete direction . . . you are not helpless or scattered . . . at least in the planning process. Planning a funeral also helps you and other family members get in touch with the reality of the death and takes you out of the “surreal denial” phase, if only for a short time.
The “Liturgy Planning Form” below outlines the information which will be appear on the funeral programs that will be distributed at the beginning of the funeral. It is important for you to consider seriously whether or not any of the people you are choosing to participate can reasonably handle the task emotionally. These people will be given an instruction sheet so they will know exactly how and when they do their part, and if they are readers, they will have copies of the readings to rehearse outloud before the funeral. If one of them simply cannot do it on the day of the funeral, the Minister of Consolation will take over for them, or stand with them at the microphone encouraging them.