Our Deepest Sympathy…
We direct these words in particular to those who have lost loved ones. The parish clergy, the pastoral staff and the parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows Church offer our prayerful support especially at this time of your loss. We want you to know that in the days and months ahead we are willing to be of whatever help me might be to you. We are also aware that we cannot remove your pain, but we hope to be able to assist you in whatever way possible as you attempt to find God’s loving presence even in the midst of suffering. In addition to the parish clergy and pastoral staff, there is a bereavement group within the parish which also may be of help to you. For information about our Bereavement Ministry, please contact Stephanie Sonnick.
Pastoral Principles and Policies
- Our Lady of Sorrows Church takes seriously its responsibility to minister to those who have died and to their families and loved ones. We do so in several ways, most notably, in the way we celebrate the liturgical rites provided for the deceased. While it is expected that the Rite of Christian Burial be celebrated for baptized Catholics, the Catholic Church also permits the rites to be celebrated for unbaptized children (of Christian families) as well as baptized members of non-Catholic communities of faith.
- Persons who regularly participated in the celebration of the Eucharist should not be deprived of the funeral Mass simply because few (if any) relatives and/or friends might attend. The number of mourners should not be the determining factor in whether or not a funeral Mass is celebrated.
- The Rite of Christian Burial provides for a variety of prayerful celebrations. While the traditional practice is the celebration of a funeral Mass, circumstances may dictate a preference for a service of Scripture and prayer in the funeral home (and/or at the cemetery). This might be appropriate where the family or loved ones are not of the Catholic faith, or where the deceased has never been an active Catholic. If there are questions regarding this matter, the parish clergy would be happy to discuss them with the family.
- The Funeral Liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. All hymns and songs which accompany the Holy Mass must be sacred in nature. The Funeral Planning Form linked to above provides many appropriate choices for your selection. If there are further questions about music for the Funeral Mass, please contact Preston Dibble, our parish Director of Music.
- We welcome the presence of other priests as concelebrants at funeral Masses. If the family requests another priest to conduct the entire funeral, the family should contact the priest, verify his availability and ask him to contact the parish office to confirm his willingness to celebrate the Rites of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Sorrows. Unless we hear from the priest, we will not assume his presence.
- While the Catholic Church continues to encourage the ancient custom of burying the dead, cremation is permitted (unless it is evident that cremation was chosen by the deceased or the family for reasons contrary to Catholic faith e.g. because of lack of faith in the resurrection of the dead). Where cremation is to take place, the preference is for the cremation to take place after the funeral Mass. If this is not possible, the ashes are brought to church for the funeral Mass and then are to be entombed or buried in a timely manner at a cemetery.
- Normally, the clergy of the parish will visit the family of the deceased in the funeral home for the Wake and will lead a prayer service. Generally, the clergy of Our Lady of Sorrows will also accompany the body to the cemetery. However, in some instances, this may not be possible. If the family wishes, funeral flowers may be brought to the church for the funeral and left there following the funeral as a memorial to the deceased (usually this is limited to two baskets or arrangements).
- The family and friends of the deceased may participate in the funeral Mass in any of the following ways:
- Selecting Scripture readings and hymns for the funeral Mass. You may do so here.
- Accompanying the casket into and out of the Church (i.e., acting as pallbearers)
- Proclaiming the first and second Scriptural readings
- Bringing forward the gifts of bread and wine at the Offertory
- Offering brief remarks (“eulogy”) about the deceased. At the funeral liturgy, the community gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death and to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion. Through the Holy Spirit, the community is gathered in Word and gesture that each believer through Baptism shares in Christ’s death and resurrection and can look to the day when all will be raised up and united in the kingdom of light and peace. The focus of the holy Mass is on the Resurrection and on Jesus present to us in the Eucharist. Offering brief remarks (“eulogy”) about the deceased is an option, but it is only an optional component and is not necessary. Often, this can be done at the funeral home, the cemetery, or the repast and be even more impactful when offered in those places and times. If the family wishes to do so at the funeral Mass itself, it must be attentive to this policy