The Funeral Liturgy
The Funeral Liturgy is composed of the Vigil, usually the afternoon or evening before the funeral; the Funeral
Mass and the Final Committal and Commendation at the cemetery.
Over twenty years ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) produced a revision in the
Order of Christian Funerals (Funeral Rites). A major trust of the changes and revisions was to invoke a
greater sense of participation by family members and friends of the deceased. Locally, the Archdiocese of
Boston has instituted “Guidelines for the Celebration of the Funeral Mass,” ensuring that the Funeral Liturgy
will be celebrated with grace, dignity and respect.
The following outline will guide you through the Funeral Liturgy and highlight those moments in the liturgy
when your participation is invited.
Suggestions for music are provided to assist you in preparing the Liturgy. If you wish, our Music Director will
make appropriate selections for you.
The casket is brought into the church; the family and mourners follow. All national symbols (i.e. the American
flag) are removed (and replaced at the conclusion of the funeral liturgy). At the break in the aisle, the priest will
greet the family and will sprinkle the casket with holy water to ser as a reminder of Baptism.
The family then places the PALL on the casket (The Pall is a large white cloth that serves as a symbolic
reminder of the garment that was presented to the deceased at Baptism).
The Liturgy of the Word
ONE reading from the Old Testament is to be selected by the family of the deceased and may be proclaimed by
a family member or a friend of the deceased. (1 participant)
ONE reading from the New Testament is to be selected by the family of the deceased and may be proclaimed by
a family member or friend of the deceased. (1 participant)
The PRIEST or a deacon will select and proclaim the Gospel and will preach a Homily.
The Preparation Rites
The gifts of Bread and Wine are placed on a table near the front of the Church. At the appointed time, the priest
will invited members of the family to carry the gifts with reverence and dignity and present them to the priest.