Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis
St. Benedict Catholic Church wishes to stand with its grieving parishioners in this difficult time. We know there are many decisions to be made — while grieving — and the details of the Funeral Rite liturgy of the Church can be overwhelming. In no way are these meant to complicate an already difficult experience. This is to draw together differing aspects of the process so that should a question be forgotten, or something overlooked while meeting at the Funeral Home, simply scanning these might fill in what has not been covered. Keep in mind that these guidelines apply only to St. Benedict’s parishioners. St. Benedict’s will make every effort to set a funeral time that is convenient for you and your family. We suggest that the primary contact for co-ordination should be the designated person from the funeral home.
As Catholics, we celebrate the funeral rites to offer prayers of supplication for the souls of the faithful departed who have now returned to God, the Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. Traditionally the Church identifies three principal funereal rites, with the customary flexibility to choose the rite and/or rites that best mark the death of our loved ones.
The Vigil (Wake) Service – usually takes place on the eve of the Funeral Mass and may be held in the Funeral Home. This service generally includes prayers for the deceased, and prayers of consolation for the members of the bereaved family. The Rosary may be recited since it helps us to reflect upon the life, death and resurrection of Christ and so leads us to a greater sense of hope at this time of grief. A priest, family member, or a friend may conduct this rite.
Funeral Mass – the essential liturgical rite, which takes place in the church, with a priest offering the Holy Sacrifice of Christ for the repose of the soul of the deceased. The funeral liturgy includes the reception of the body, the Requiem Mass, and the Absolution of the body. As an expression of our faith in the resurrection we respectfully ask that cremation of the body (if preferred) takes place after the Funeral Mass and Absolution of the body. Other options, like a Funeral Mass in the absence of the body may also be arranged along with Requiem Masses on the 3rd, 7th, and 30th days following the burial.
Rite of Committal – celebrated at the cemetery, or columbarium. This service, accompanied by a Priest, consists of prayers, blessings, and a final farewell.
Low Mass - St Benedict Parish regrets that at this time we cannot provide a choir for a Sung Requiem Mass. Therefore, all Funeral services will take the form of Low Mass. (It is customary to offer a stipend to the Altar Servers if there are any. (We, recommend $20/server.) In cases where the bereaved family has no one in mind to serve the Pastor will assign the required number.
The Reception of Holy Communion
Unfortunately, due to the design of the pews at St. Benedict it is impossible to offer Holy Communion during a Requiem Mass while the casket is present. Those wishing to receive Holy Communion may do so after the casket has been removed. Holy Communion is the summit of our belief in Jesus Christ. The Real Presence of Christ in our midst inspires us to remember of own sinfulness and the rules regarding the reception of the sacrament. Only those who are practicing Catholics, NOT conscious of grave (mortal) sin should consider themselves disposed to receive worthily. The mode of reception is in keeping with our humble attitude in the presence of our God. Therefore at St. Benedict Holy Communion is received upon the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail. An announcement to this effect will be made before all funeral Masses.
Flowers - We welcome flowers as part of the funeral rite. However, flowers in the traditional rites of the Church are not permitted on altar or in the sanctuary. Instead, they will be displayed and arranged in the Hall of the church.
Pictures and Portraits - Unfortunately, the design of the church does not provide space, for easels and/or tables for displaying of your loved one’s pictures and remembrances. But these may be displayed together with any flowers in the Church Hall.
Eulogies - The appropriate place for eulogies is at the Vigil Service prior to the Funeral Mass.
Reception - St. Benedict Hall is not a suitable venue for funeral receptions. Families are therefore asked to make alternative arrangements for a venue where family and friends can gather for a time of refreshment and remembrance.
Donations and Fees - There is no charge for a funeral at St. Benedict. It is customary to give a donation to the parish to help defray the cost of lights, air conditioner, cleaning, and maintenance of the facilities. We recommend $250. There is no charge for the services of the priest, or altar servers. However, it is a discretionary matter.
A Final Thought on Catholic Funeral -
As members of the Body of Christ, when one suffers, we all suffer. Therefore, we are called on as a community to care for the dying, to console those who mourn, and to participate in the funeral rites. Prayerful preparation and planning of the funeral rites will help you and your loved ones deal successfully and gracefully with the ultimate rite of passage through death to eternal life. The pastor is always available to address any issues or questions.