We pray for our beloved deceased parishioners, family and friends.
The Week of 11-19-18 to 11-20-18
Losing a loved one to death is one of the most profound moments in anyone’s life. We are honored when families and friends come to us to share this moment with them and help them to commend this person to the Lord.
Death is a profoundly human experience. No matter what culture or religious tradition one is rooted in, there are three moments that need to happen: We need to tell the story and celebrate the person’s life.We need to come to a faith stance: what we believe about life and death. We need to face the reality that this person is gone physically and our lives have changed.These three moments are cyclical in that we move through them over and over again. In a moment we could have a great memory, know that the loved one is at peace with the Lord, and be very sad that this person will not be here for the next family event. We can also get stuck in one of these moments. Whatever the case, we need to move through these moments as we grieve for our loved one.
As Roman Catholics, we have ritualized these moments. In traditional societies when someone died, they needed to immediately respond to the death because the burial had to occur within a short period of time. So people would begin to gather at the home of the loved one. Food was prepared and brought to the home. That evening a wake would occur in their homes. Stories were told and shared. Toasts were given on behalf of the deceased. They celebrated the life of their loved one. They would carry the deceased to the church and prayers were said. The next morning a funeral Mass was celebrated. This is our communal faith response. We bring our loved one to the banquet of the Lord where we formally commend them to the Lord. We bless them with the holy water and clothe them with the pall, reminding them of their baptism into the death and resurrection of the Lord. Following the funeral Mass they would carry the loved one to the cemetery, usually next to the church, and bury them, knowing that life had changed.
Today, we live in a world of many options. We do not live in a town or village. We sometimes need to gather people from all over the country or even the world. Our work is different from living on the farms. So we are seeing some changes in these three ritualized moments. Most often the main and only formal gathering is at the church for the funeral Mass. At the mortuaries some gather for viewing and prayers; some do not. Some say the rosary; some do not. There is a variety of experiences surrounding this time prior to the funeral Mass. After the funeral Mass, there are many options. Some are buried close by in cemeteries; some are cremated and entombed close by; some are taken back to their families places of origin — maybe another city, state, or country.
Funerals at Holy Family
At Holy Family, we find that the main service is the funeral Mass. So during Mass we do try to have all three moments experienced: we celebrate the life of this person, we celebrate our faith in the resurrection, and we face together the pain of loss we all encounter in the death of a loved one.
Families are encouraged to participate in this service. They do the readings and General Intercessions; they bring up the gifts of bread and wine. After Communion, one person may speak for about five minutes. We call this a moment of remembrance. We want to catch the spirit of this person. If there is more than one person who wants to speak or if the person wants to speak longer than five minutes, our practice is to conclude the Mass after communion with the prayers of final commendation and then follow Mass with a Eulogy Service. We highly recommend the practice of one person for five minutes after Communion. We encourage that the story-telling happen before and after the funeral Mass. This can be done at the mortuary the night before or at the graveside or reception after the Mass. We have found this to work exceptionally well. Music is always planned and prepared with our music director.
Call the Pastoral Center at 626.799.8908. Assistance with funeral, music, liturgy and other needs is available. Funerals are scheduled from Tuesday through Friday mornings.