The Archdiocese of Kingston Education of Priest committee hosted a workshop on Funerals (2007).
Fr. John Hibbard, Master of Ceremonies and Liturgy “Extraordinare” gave us a good overview of ceremony and guidelines.
It is important from time to time to refer to the policy to ensure we are following the norms of the Archdiocese.
Each Pastor has the responsibility to make sure this information is clear and followed.
The following text is taken from the Policy Directives.
When the body of the deceased is cremated, the ashes are to be treated with the same respect as would be accorded the body.
(1) The body of the deceased is normally to be cremated only after the funeral Mass.
If a request is made for cremated remains to be present during Mass, the Chancery Office is to be informed of the request,
with the reasons given.
(2) The ashes are to be buried in the ground or in a columbarium as soon as possible.
In the Catholic tradition the ashes of the deceased are to remain integral.
It is not permissible to divide the ashes among family members or friends, or to place the ashes in articles to be worn or kept as mementos.
Nor is it permissible to divide the ashes for interment in several locations.
(3) The ashes are not to be scattered on land or sea.
(4) Pastors are to request from the funeral director the name and place of the crematorium where the body of the deceased
has been cremated and will record this information under remarks in the Parish Register.
(5) When a funeral liturgy is celebrated in a parish or diocese other than the place of internment,
both the parish of the place of the funeral liturgy and the parish of the place of burial are to be recorded
the appropriate information in the parish Death Register.
POLICY ON HOMILIES AND EULOGIES
1. In the funeral liturgy, the Order
of Christian Funerals clearly states that the homily which follows the
proclamation of the gospel is never to be a eulogy (no. 27). As part of
the funeral liturgy, the homily relates the immediate experience of
Christian death of a particular believer to the timeless paschal
mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection and to the promise
of eternal life.
Thus the homily should be personal in that it is attentive to the grief of those present and includes an expression of praise
and gratitude to God for the gift of a Christian life, and such other virtues of strengthens apparent in the deceased’s life
of in facing death.
The homily also affirms God’s compassionate love and offers hope and consolation to those who mourn.
2. A eulogy or words of remembrance are appropriate at the conclusion of the vigil service at the wake,
following the prayers at the cemetery or at the reception
3. If family members request a eulogy or words of remembrance at the funeral liturgy,
the priest or deacon making the arrangements should try to accommodate them in one of the following ways:
a. To incorporate in the homily some salient points concerning the life of the deceased,
which may be provided by a member or members of the family;
b. To suggest a printed souvenir leaflet with biographical and other details of the deceased’s life and achievements which may be distributed at the time of the funeral;
c. To offer and opportunity to reflect upon the life the deceased at the times listed in number 2 above, that is,
at the conclusion of the vigil service, following the prayers at the cemetery, or at a reception following the funeral.
4. If these options are not satisfactory, the parish priest may permit a eulogy or words of remembrance at the funeral liturgy
after the reception of the body at the entrance of the church and before the opening prayer of the Mass.
5. Whenever a eulogy or words of remembrance are part of any liturgical celebration, the following norms are to be followed:
a. The words of remembrance should be delivered from a stand and not the lectern, since this is reserved
for the proclamation of the Word of God (see GIRM no. 272)
b. The words of remembrance are to be given by only one person, chosen by the family in consultation with the parish priest or presiding priest. The person should be a person of good moral character and reputation, preferably a person of known
c.The words of remembrance are to be given from notes or a written text prepared beforehand in consultation
with the presiding priest or deacon.
d. The words of remembrance, brief in nature, have the intent of giving thanks to God for the life of the deceased.
They may focus on the life and accomplishments of the deceased with an example or two highlighting the virtues or qualities of the deceased. They may also offer a word of comfort and encouragement to the survivors and include an expression of gratitude
for the support and encouragement received by the family members. The words of remembrance should never include thoughts,
material or expressions of belief that do not conform to Catholic teaching.