Care of the Dying and Funerals
Our simplest and most practical piece of advice to you is that when you know someone you care for is dying call Fr Nick on 01896 752328. In danger of death, he will come out immediately and administer the ‘Last Rites’. Every Catholic, no matter how long it has been since they have had contact with the Church has the right to receive the assurance of God’s mercy and love.
Equally if the person you care for has died then they too (again no matter what their relationship to the Catholic Church) has the right to a Catholic funeral where they will be prayed for and God’s love and mercy sought. When in doubt call the priest.
If in first instance you have contacted a Funeral Director they will get in contact and give your details and then contact will be made.
Once a person (or their family) know they are dying then they should call for a priest. While it can be hard to face the fact of approaching death nevertheless it is not a kindness to be left in the dark. God through his Church offers a means of approaching death: The Last Rites or Last Sacraments.
The last Sacraments are God reiterating his promises to us:
- Anointing assures us of healing and forgiveness.
- Reconciliation allows us to know peace.
- Communion feeds us for the journey.
Clearly for these to offer the most they can then it is better that they are not a last minute thing. However even at the last, the sacrament of the ‘final anointing’ assures the soul of God’s mercy.
Even if none of these actions have taken place then a Catholic funeral is available. Again once the person has died call the priest.
When a loved one dies
A Catholic funeral is first and foremost offered for the person who has died – the repose of their soul is the focus and purpose of our prayers. Secondly this is always done in the context of worship, it is to God that we are commending those who have died, we are seeking to place them at the foot of Jesus’ cross that they may be forgiven and at the door of his empty tomb that they might rise with him. In a Catholic funeral Good Friday and Easter Sunday come together for the person who has died.
Catholic Funerals are most normally Funeral Masses held in church, these may be preceded by a Vigil Service the night before the Mass. After the funeral mass, the body may be buried or cremated.
After a cremation service ashes should be buried.
Music at a Catholic funeral should be appropriate to worship; during a Funeral Mass only sacred music is permitted, ie. hymns and chants normally sung as part of worship.
At the funeral Mass all readings should come from Sacred Scripture (the Bible). Help will be given in selecting these, family members can read or the church will provide readers.
Other readings such as poems can be read near the end of the funeral.
Readings approved for use at catholic funerals can be found by clicking here.
A short eulogy may be given, by a family member. Alternatively a text can be given to the priest to read on behalf of the family or again information can be given to the priest to include in his homily after the readings.
A retiral collection to a chosen charity is possible given that the charity's aims do not conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church. The parish priest should be notified of the intention to take a collection however the funeral director is responsible for the taking of the collection and any monies collected.
There is no fee for the funeral. If you would like to make a donation to the parish or to the celebrant, that is entirely at your discretion, though gratefully received and can be done through the funeral director or personally.