The death of someone close to us is a trauma and can seem like the end of the world. Suddenly, the person who is so much part of our lives is gone. We feel devasted and heartbroken. But for us as Catholics we know that the death of our loved one is not the end of the story because for us there is Jesus and there is Easter. It means that death is not the end any more, our destiny is life. We pass from death to eternal life. Death is that moment when Christ who is life finally takes us to himself forever, when we can never be separated from God. “I’m the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live forever, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11; 25-26.
Funeral arrangements are to be made with the priest. The usual times are: Remains to arrive at church at 7p.m., Funeral Mass at 11am. In Rathmore and Rathcairn, the morning Mass will be cancelled and Funeral Mass will be at 2pm.
The removal will arrive punctually at the agreed time. (If late the priest may not be there) Pall to be place over the coffin and procession to the Altar will take place. The priest will lead the prayers of reception and after the prayers all attending will have an opportunity to sympathise with the bereaved family.
At this ceremony, two members of the family will be invited to place a crucifix and the Bible on the coffin. A Remembrance Table will be beside the coffin on which mementos of the deceased can be placed. It is recommended that the mementos are placed on the table before the reception ceremony, as they will remain there for the entire Funeral Liturgy.
THE FUNERAL MASS
In offering the Mass we are praying the greatest of all prayers. In this liturgy we also commend our loved one to the mercy and love of God. You are encouraged to be involved in the preparation of your loved ones funeral liturgy as we commend him or her to God, we support and pray for those who mourn, and who we seek strength in the promise of the Lord that he will not forget his own. The readings at Mass are always from the Bible which is the Word of God and in the Prayers of the Faithful, we pray for the deceased and the bereaved and the wider community. With the Remembrance table in place, only bread and wine will be carried to the Altar for the Offertory Procession. The Church is the House of God and is a sacred place and celebrating Mass together is a spiritual and holy time and all music and songs must be hymns. To comply with Meath Diocesan regulations if a eulogy or words of thanks are to be expressed by a member of the family, it may be done at the graveside after the prayers but not in the church.
Before the Mass the Undertaker will have removed the wreaths from the church so that you may follow the coffin without having the burden of carrying them in your grief.
AT THE GRAVESIDE
The coffin is lowered into the grave and the priest leads everyone in pray. When the prayers are completed the undertaker covers the grave and places the wreaths on it. Then the priest will sympathise with the family again and lead the congregation to offer their sympathy to the family.
The undertaker normally organises the digging and preparing of the grave. He employs someone who is insured for such work. If neighbours or friends wish to dig the grave they do so at their own risk.
Eternal rest grant to them O Lord and let perpetual light shine on them. May their souls and the should of the faithful departed to the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.