As Catholics, we find bright rays of hope even in the midst of our darkest times. We believe that death is not only an end, but also a beginning. Our loved one has passed from this present, temporary life to a perfect, permanent one. He or she who knows God in faith on earth now sees the Lord face-to-face in heaven. While death separates us, we will one day be reunited with all those we love in a “dwelling provided for us by God, a dwelling in the heavens, not made by hands but to last forever.”(2 Corinthians 5:1)
When a Catholic dies, the Church celebrates a particular set of liturgical rites to help us through the immediate days of our grieving, to express our belief in eternal life, and to help us pray for the one who has died. These rites are organized into what is called the Order of Christian Funerals, which contains all the liturgical prayers, scripture readings, and blessing for use immediately following the death of a member of the Church.
We understand that right now you likely feel confused, sad, stunned, or perhaps even overwhelmed by your loss. In the past you have loved others, comforted them, and shared their losses. During the hours and days just ahead it will be your turn – your time to be loved, to be comforted, and to let others help you bear the pain of your grief. We pray you are able to open your heart and receive these rich blessings.
These guidelines are offered to help you bring order to these days of hard transition and deep sorrow by explaining the process of planning the funeral for your loved one.