The Last Goodbye

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
— Matthew 5:4

An Introduction To Funerals

In general, Roman Catholics are to be given a Catholic funeral on their death. On the other hand, Church law stipulates that Catholic burial rites are to be refused to the following, unless they gave some sign of repentance before death:

  • Persons publicly known to be guilty of apostasy, heresy or schism;
  • Those who asked to be cremated for anti-Christian motives;
  • Manifest sinners, if the granting of Church funeral rites to them would cause scandal to Catholics.
  • At St Lawrence, with the exception of the above, we welcome families of those who have died to celebrate their Mass of Resurrection with us. Usually the initial contact is made to the Church by the funeral director, after having consulted with the family.

The Components of the Rite

The Rite of Funerals here in our parish has three components:

  • Vigil at the funeral home — a short prayer service led by a member of the parish staff, not necessarily the priest;
  • Funeral mass — celebrated by a priest, not necessarily the Pastor;
  • Prayers at the grave/masoleum — led by a member of the staff, not necessarily the Pastor.

Upon being notified that a loved one has died, a member of the parish pastoral team will contact family members to discuss the above, as well as the various options for family members to be involved with any or all of the components.

In the Archdiocese of Newark, there is particular law that no eulogies are permitted at funeral masses. Should a member of a family wish to give a eulogy regarding the deceased loved one, it is permitted to happen at the Vigil in the funeral home or at the graveside. At St Lawrence there are no exceptions to this Archdiocesan regulation.

Further, Church law notes that the celebration of funeral masses are usually not celebrated on Sunday (unless it is during the afternoon), and are not generally celebrated on other solemnities or major feast days. They are normally not to be celebrated on Ash Wednesday or during Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Wednesday. They are not celebrated at all during the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday), during Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, and on January 1 (St. Mary’s principal feast), and are also not done during the day preceding Christmas Day and the day preceding January 1. However, pastoral necessity may allow for a Vigil ceremony, outside of mass.

Music during the Funeral Mass

Music is provided at the Funeral Mass, and includes the organist/pianist and one cantor. Families who may wish to have guest musicians should first consult with the music director. Please contact Matthew Still prior to making any music selections or booking any outside musicians.

Families should make arrangements and schedule funerals via the Funeral Director, who will then contact the Church.

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