Catholic funeral plans reflect the Easter journey of Jesus from death on the cross through to resurrection. Standard prepaid plans do need a bit of tweaking to fit in with the traditional Catholic model, something we are well used to doing. We will be pleased to discuss the cost implications of the different options but please don’t ask us about the doctrinal implications! We try to set up plans that are flexible enough to cope with future, perhaps unexpected, changes in circumstances. Call us on 0800 0588 240 or use the form at the foot.
Catholics are encouraged to celebrate the funeral in three stages: prayer vigil, funeral liturgy, and finally, the committal. In reality, things do vary quite a bit. There are more options than one would suspect, though the family should always consult the relevant priest at the time of death as their advice should be considered. But there is no reason why the recommendations can’t be put together, like the prepaid Catholic plan, in advance. Why not keep them with the funeral plan paperwork? The aim of the prepayment plan is two fold: to save the problem of suddenly finding lots of cash on your passing. And to give you the opportunity to make your own wishes clear. Some of the better plans (and we research the market for you) also allow you to give your plan for the funeral of a friend or relative where the money is just not there.
Catholic Funeral Plans Enquiry Form
Catholic Plans – the Ritual. (Update here).
The Prayer Vigil is the first part of the farewell journey, and the main rite celebrated between death and the funeral itself. It is the first stage of the farewell and is designed to support the family and prepare for the final farewell.
The Vigil or wake may be held in the home of the deceased, the funeral home, or in another suitable place, for instance a hospital chapel. It may also take place in the Church. The body of the deceased may be present, but it is not essential. The service is a simple Liturgy of the Word of God or Evening Prayer.
The Funeral Liturgy is the main celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. It is generally celebrated in the deceased’s parish church. You may celebrate the Funeral Liturgy in a crematorium or cemetery chapel. Two forms are possible: a funeral Mass (also called the Requiem Mass) or a funeral liturgy outside Mass.
The Church encourages a Mass since the eucharist remembers and celebrates Christ’s own death and resurrection. However, while the eucharist is the central Catholic central liturgy, it is not always the best option for every funeral. To celebrate a funeral without Mass is a truly valid form of Catholic worship.
The Committal usually follows the funeral liturgy. This final act of farewell is celebrated at the graveside or at the crematorium. When a body is cremated the funeral liturgy is preferably concluded with the interring of ashes sometime afterwards.
Catholics are encouraged to celebrate the passing of the deceased in these three stages, but it isn’t always possible or proper in the circumstances. Indeed, the funeral may even comprise a single act of worship either in the cemetery chapel or crematorium.
Lord, in our grief we turn to you.
Are you not the God of love
always ready to hear our cries?
Listen to our prayers for your servant N.
whom you have called out of this world:
lead him/her to your Kingdom of light and peace
and count him/her among the saints in glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
I am the resurrection and the life,
says the Lord,
whoever believes in me will never die.
Catholic funeral plans
Catholic funerals have changed substantially over the last few years, with cremation becoming acceptable. There remains a strong preference for the ashes to be buried rather than scattered, but there is much more flexibility. Bear in mind we are funeral plan advisers, not the Church! Whilst a prepaid funeral plan may not cover absolutely everything, it make life easier and give you the chance to make your own wishes clear.
Catholics believe that death is the passing from the physical world to the afterlife, where the deceased’s soul will live in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. At the end of time, when Christ returns, many Catholics believe that the bodies of the dead will be resurrected.
This used to mean that Catholics were always buried, but this has long since been relaxed and cremations are now commonplace.
There are commonly three parts or types of rituals involved in a Catholic funeral: a vigil or wake, a mass, and the burial. It is important that you consider these matters carefully, and make allowance for them – if you wish – within your prepaid funeral plan. Even if you don’t allow for the additional costs which may arise in a Catholic funeral, you will at least have dramatically cut the burden on those left behind,
The vigil or wake is a ceremony where loved ones gather to pay respect to the dead and to surviving family members, and also to attend to the deceased’s soul. It tends to be held in a funeral home or parish church or chapel, although it can also take place at a home. A priest will often lead a group prayer, or a quiet place is provided for those who wish to pray alone. The casket containing the body is usually present and may be displayed open or closed. Flowers commonly adorn the casket and the room, along with candles and a crucifix. Personal items and photographs may also be displayed. A funeral plan will not include an allowance for the extra work by the funeral directors or any other aspect of this though it is easy to add an allowance towards the extra cost. This allowance will normally be index linked.
The Catholic funeral service is a mass, generally held in church the day after the vigil, though increasingly at the crematorium. It consists of receiving the body at the church or opening rites, the liturgies of the word and Eucharist, and final committal or concluding rites. The traditional requiem mass is similar to other Catholic masses except that incense is not burned at the points usually designated, nor is the kiss of peace exchanged.
Mass cannot be held on certain days:
- Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter.)
- Good Friday (the Friday before Easter.)
- Holy Saturday (the Saturday before Easter.)
- Easter Sunday.
- Sundays during Advent (the period starting on the fourth Sunday before 25 December through to 25 December.)
- Lent (the 40-day period before Easter.)
- Easter Season (the 50-day period after Easter.)
A Funeral Mass may be held on Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), though ashes would not be distributed in the church.
Catholic Funeral Plans Enquiry Form.
A guide to preparing for a Catholic Funeral by the Archbishop of Westminster.