How to Plan a Funeral
Grief & Guidance
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All traditional funeral services are made up of the same basic parts that follow the same sequence. We breakdown each part below:
This is often called a viewing or a wake. Guests come to pay their respects to the deceased by viewing their casketed body and spending time with the grieving family. A visitation can occur at any time before the funeral service.
2. Funeral Service
This event commonly takes place at the funeral home, a church, or at the graveside. It can include music, the reading of literary or religious passages, a eulogy, prayer, and the singing of hymns.
3. Committal Service
If the family plans to bury the deceased, this stage involves the vehicle procession to the cemetery.
4. Funeral Reception
Many choose to host this post-service gathering (or repast) at a reception hall. This is considered a time to share memories, laughter, and support.
A traditional funeral service has long been associated with religion, and more specifically it is often tied to the rituals of a Christian or Catholic funeral. To better explain a traditional funeral, we will be looking at it through the lens of a Catholic funeral.
A Catholic funeral follows the 4 parts we already touched on above: the visitation, funeral service, committal service, and the funeral reception. The main difference between a Catholic funeral and any other funeral takes place during the funeral service element.
The purpose of a Catholic funeral is to pray for the soul of the deceased while offering comfort and support to the bereaved.
A Catholic funeral service often takes place in a chapel or church. It takes the format of a normal Catholic mass, and it is led by a priest.
On the day of the funeral ceremony, guests should begin arriving prior to the start of the service. A rule of thumb is to show up about 15-20 minutes early so you can share a few words with the family of the deceased prior to the service beginning.
The service starts with guests entering the church or chapel and taking their seats. There is then a small procession down the main aisle of the church with the immediate family and pallbearers carrying the casket. The casket will generally be placed in front of the altar, and the immediate family and pallbearers will sit at the very front. Once everyone has gathered together, the priest will say a few words and the mass will officially begin.
A traditional funeral service typically includes readings from the Bible, a homily from the priest, prayers, and hymns. Generally, the family will choose close relatives or friends to say the readings.
The funeral service often concludes with the delivering of a eulogy. The eulogy usually covers the deceased’s life, their values, their personality, their accomplishments, etc.
There are many different funeral hymns you can include in a Catholic funeral service. Below we have outlined some of the most popular choices among families.
The Lord is My Shepherd
Here is a list of popular readings from the Bible that are chosen for Catholic funerals.
We are open and serve all faiths, but we do consider to be a Catholic funeral home first and foremost. Our specialty is performing Catholic funeral services because that is the type of funeral service that is requested the most. We have become highly experienced in the traditions and rituals surrounding a Catholic service, and we consider ourselves experts in this realm.
For more information about planning a traditional funeral, please contact us today.