It is never easy to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. However, funerals are important in helping us during the process of accepting, grieving and healing from a death.
In fact, people of all religions have differing versions of funerals to bring them comfort at a time of sorrow.
With more than 1.1 billion Roman Catholics in the world, it is important to learn all about the death customs of this branch of Christianity so you can respect the deceased appropriately.
What happens at a Catholic funeral?
A traditional Catholic funeral typically occurs within three days of a death, usually after a Vigil service or wake the evening before. This is when mourners gather around the body of the deceased to honour them with music and hymns.
The funeral service is conducted by a priest, and it usually starts with an introductory rite which is followed by a procession up the aisle comprising of the priest, the coffin and the congregation. After the coffin is blessed with holy water, the coffin is set at the altar and a pall is placed over it.
It is common to see the deceased person’s immediate family, extended relatives, friends and other members of their community attending the funeral service to pay their respects.
Those present will typically engage in opening songs and prayers before the funeral liturgy is carried out. At this stage, a loved one or the priest will read a passage from the Old Testament and a psalm before a eulogy is delivered.
If a funeral mass is taking place, the mourners will be invited to receive Holy Communion which represents the body of Christ. When a moment of silence passes, the final commendation will take place where special prayers are said and the coffin will exit the church.
The final stage of a Catholic funeral is when the deceased person is buried in the graveyard. This is accompanied by a reading of some verses of scripture and prayers by the priest.
Before departing the graveyard, those attending the service will typically shake the hand of the deceased’s immediate family to demonstrate they are sorry for the loss.
How long is a Catholic funeral?
The length of a typical Catholic funeral service fluctuates according to whether the service includes a mass or not. If a mass is included, the funeral service will last around an hour. This time is cut in half if there is no mass.
What to wear to a catholic funeral?
If you are attending a Catholic funeral in the UK, it is customary for mourners to wear dark colours like black or navy as a way to respect the dead.
Men are advised to wear black suits and ties and women typically wear dresses, skirts or trouser suits.
How much is a catholic funeral?
Catholic funerals cost more than a non-religious funeral because there are usually higher fees associated with the Vigil service and the transportation of the coffin to the funeral service.
You will usually be required to pay a fee to the parish as well as to whoever is responsible for the music.
These sums are normally taken into consideration in the account prepared by the funeral director.
Catholic funerals in the UK
If you’re seeking a sensitive and trustworthy funeral director to help you plan a Catholic funeral, then contact Middleton’s Funeral Services.
We will assist you to arrange a respectful service that provides closure for family and loved ones that is faithful to the traditions and values of Roman Catholicism.
To start a conversation, contact us today.