FUNERAL & MEMORIAL SERVICE
Funeral and Memorial Service
It is with deep sympathy that we meet you on this occasion of the passing of your loved one. You can be assured of the prayerful support of the Saint Paul Parish community.
The Christian tradition that has been preserved in the Church provides ritual gestures and prayers that give us hope in our mourning. They are gestures that are fitting at the end of a life that began with Christian baptism. Family and friends may find comfort in the belief that Christ binds himself to those who mourn and rejoices with those who are called to eternal life.
Christian death has traditionally been honored by three distinct gestures of prayer and ritual. It is customary for family and friends to gather on the evening (or afternoon) before the funeral to offer a simple set of prayers known as the Vigil (Wake) Service. On the following day, the Funeral Mass takes place in the Church, and afterward, the family and friends process to the gravesite for the Rite of Committal.
You will want to establish the times for these rituals as soon as possible by contacting Saint Paul Parish office via phone (902-499-3386)
Vigil (Wake) Service
"At the Vigil, the Christian Community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of Mercy . . ." (Order of Christian Funerals)
The Vigil Service is quite short - approximately 15 minutes. It begins the sacred action of Christian burial. Borrowing from the ancient gesture of asking God for protectection not only for those who have died, but also for those who remain, the Vigil especially provides a time for friends and family not able to be at the funeral to join their prayer with others.
Rite of Christian Burial with Mass Funeral/Rite of Christian Burial without Mass
The pinnacle moment in Christian burial is the Funeral Liturgy or Mass celebrated in the Church. During the Mass, we reflect upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a means of understanding the goodness that God shows us at the time of our own death. It is a time for us to renew our faith and in doing so pray for our loved one.
Family members may be involved in the planning of the Funeral Liturgy by choosing the scripture readings, electing hymns and presenting the gifts of bread and wine etc.
The Rite of Christian Burial without Mass Care is provided for the family of the deceased who are not practising the Catholic faith.
Choosing Scripture Readings
There are Three Readings:
1. From the Old Testament
2. From the New Testament
3. From the Gospels.
These readings may be chosen by the family from a selection made available to you.
Family members or friends who are readers or communion ministers in their own parishes may carry out these ministries during the funeral Mass. When meeting with Saint Paul Parish please indicate if you would like someone specific to carry out these ministries.
Every funeral is enhanced by liturgical music. Those arranging the funeral may request hymns that are particularly appropriate and well known to the gathered community.
Following liturgical guidelines, a song leader will be provided to enable the singing of all gathered when appropriate: (e.g. gathering and communion songs). The song leader will also act as a cantor to intone the verses of the Responsorial Psalm and other sung responses.
Presenting the Gifts of Bread and Wine
The bread and wine that will be blessed during the mass may be brought to the altar by two or three family members.
This is an opportunity for younger family members to have some involvement.
Rite of Committal (Burial)
After the funeral liturgy, those leading the Rite of Committal will accompany the family to the gravesite. This graveside service concludes the funeral rites and is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven.
In a Christian Funeral Liturgy, the body of the deceased is respectfully honored with appropriate prayers and blessings. It is the usual practice for the body to be brought to the Church for the Funeral Liturgy; however, if cremation has taken place the ashes may be brought into the Church for a Memorial Mass.
The Days After . . .
Our pastoral staff has basic skills in bereavement counseling and if you would like to talk about the loss and grief that remains after death we would be happy to meet with you. We are also able to make valuable referrals to other professionals in the field of counseling.