PARISH GUIDELINES FOR
THE CELEBRATION OF
These parish guidelines exist to assist family members at a time when many decisions have to be made in an environment of grief and confusion. They might also be helpful to an individual who chooses to make arrangements for their own Funeral. We hope that the material found here can help guide you through some of the planning that is a necessary part of Christian death. We will help you prepare for the three stages of Christian burial: the Prayer Vigil, the Funeral Mass, and the Interment.
These guidelines are designed to be best applied in consultation with the Rector or one of the parish priests.
From the beginning of the Church, Christian burial has been an important and integral part of the Catholic life. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ put an end to the power of death; thus followers of our blessed Lord believe that death is but the entrance to new and eternal life in Him. We hope for the final resurrection; and for the body which awaits that resurrection, we show a proper reverence.
The Mass of the Resurrection is and Easter liturgy. For one who has lived in Christ and with Christ, the Mass becomes the normative expression of that belief. This is because in death, we enter into the beginning of eternal joy with God our Father. Since the Mass is the Church’s principle offering of sacrifice, prayer and praise, it is most appropriate that a Mass of the Resurrection be celebrated in connection with every Christian’s death.
1. What Should I Know As We Begin This Process?
a) The parish staff will do everything we can to accommodate family needs, funeral arrangements should not be finalized at the Funeral Home until the Parish has been consulted. We always have to consider the scheduled use of the building, the availability of clergy, and the occasional restriction of the Church year (which prohibit the celebration of a funeral, i.e. Sundays and certain Holy Days). Since we want to serve you as best we can, this consultation is important.
b) Family members are encouraged to participate as much as they are able in the Burial liturgy. Generally this means there are opportunities for them to,
- act as Readers at the Prayers for a Vigil liturgy if there be one
- act as Readers, or Eucharistic Ministers of the Holy Communion at the Mass if licensed
- assist the Altar Guild in placing the pall on the casket
- process into the church with casket or cremated remains
- bring forward the gifts in the Offertory procession
- if properly trained, act as Servers
- provide a few short words, if appropriate, at the Prayers for a Vigil liturgy or at the Mass.
- plan the readings and the music for the service along with the parish priest.
c) The Funeral Pall, which covers the casket or urn is used at every Funeral. The Funeral Pall is the white covering for the casket. As the faithful departed was dressed in white at his or her baptism, so again they are clothed in white.
d) Flowers are a common expression of sympathy and support. While they are acceptable at the Prayers for a Vigil, it is not the custom to place flowers just anywhere throughout the Sanctuary. At the discretion of the priest or the Flower Guild Directress, the family may place a special bouquet of flowers at the altar, but this request should be made known before the liturgy is to begin. All other flower arrangements will be placed in the Narthex by the Guest Book, or in some other appropriate place. There are other options which exist in lieu of sending flowers. One may encourage family and friends to make donations to the deceased’s favorite charity, to a medical research non-profit organization, or to the St. Uriel's.
e) Funerals are special times of remembering. Remembrances and photos can be important. We invite you to consider putting photographs (arranged as a display), a portrait, or other personal belongings in the Narthex. I fthere is to be a reception in the parish hall, this too would be a good setting to set up a pictorial display.
f) If the family desires, the Parish Hall is avaiable for a reception following the Mass. There is no fee for the use of the Parish Hall.
g) If you desire music, the Director of Music is available. We also have the ministry of Cantor which can add beauty to the liturgy. If you wish additional musicians outside of the parish music ministry it must be cleared with the Rector and the Director of Music prior to the liturgy. The family will be responsible for negotiating and paying these fees with the individuals involved. No secular music will be permitted during the liturgy.
2. Who Can Be Buried From the Parish?
a) Any member of the Parish may be buried from St. Uriel’s. This applies to all Catechumens (those who should die during the time of their baptismal instruction).
b) Any Christian who has a connection to St. Uriel's through another family member (spouse, parent, etc.).
c) Any Christian who once was a member of St. Uriel's may have their Mass of Christian Burial here.
d) Any Christian without a church home can be buried from the St. Uriel's. (For non-member, some fees may required.)
e) In special circumstances, non-Christians can also be buried from here. This will be only a the discretion of the Rector. It will be discussed on a case by case basis. The Anglican Church does provides specific rites for one who does not profess the Christian Faith.
f) Some Anglicans may have a perception that those who have taken their own life may not be buried from the Church. This is an erroneous belief. We are happy to provide the Church’s rites and the consolation of the Sacraments in just such circumstances. Similarly, some also have recollections that unbaptized children in the past were not permitted to have a funeral. This is not the case. A Mass of Christian Burial should be celebrated for an unbaptized infant.
g) Since life begins at conception and not simply when the child can live on it’s own outside the mother’s womb, any parent who has had a miscarriage should name their child. The child is a child of God and has entered into eternal life with Jesus Christ. A Mass for the child is strongly recommended. The Catholic faith teaches that the child is in fact a child and not merely a fetus. It also gives assurance of our Lord’s victory over death. For the family, the Mass will help in both the grieving and healing process.
3. Can I Be Cremated And Still Be Buried Form The Church?
- In the Anglican tradition, cremation is permitted as long as it is not a statement by an individual of an anti-Christian bias or a disbelief in the final resurrection. Cremation does provide a dignified and economical means for burial.
- There are four options a family may choose from:
a) the family may bring the body to church for the Mass, and then have the remains cremated.
b) the cremated remains may be brought directly to the church for the Funeral Mass. The interment may follow directly after the Mass.
c) After a person has died, the family may wish to have direct cremation. At a later time, when family and friends can get together, the Mass of Christian Burial may be celebrated followed by internment.
d) A private interment for just family may be done before the Mass of Christian Burial. At a more opportune time when friend and other family memebrs can come ttogether, a Memorial Mass can be celebrated. While this certainly is an option, it is always encouraged that either the coffin or urn be present
All of these options may be discussed with the Funeral Director and with a priest of the parish.
St. Uriel’s maintains a Columbarium on the property for the interment of cremated remains. Members of the parish, or those who have connections to the parish may have their purchase niches for the family. Regulations and information can be obtained from the Parish Office.
4. Where Do We Celebrate the Parts of the Funeral?
a) In our society we are accustomed to using funeral establishments for the reception of guests prior to the funeral. This is done in a parlor or in a chapel designed for this purpose. There are, however, some other options open to individuals in planning a funeral.
The evening before the Mass, the body may be viewed or the cremated remains visited and guests may be received at the church rather than the Funeral Home. This can be a meaningful alternative for the deceased or for family members. The evening may start with the short liturgy Prayers for a Vigil (Book of Common Prayer), and then the family can receive guests. Often a light reception can accompany this gathering. The body or the cremated remains can stay at the church overnight.
- Guests can be received at church for an hour in the evening. The Mass of Christian Burial can follow in the same evening at the church. The Committal, (Internment) would be an intimate, private, family affair the next day or at some other pre-arranged time.
- If desired, the viewing can take place at Funeral Home or in the family home. It may begin with the short Prayers for a Vigil liturgy there and then the body or cremated remains are transported to the church for the Mass.
b) The church is always available for the Burial liturgy.
c) For a variety of reasons some individuals choose not to celebrate a Mass of the Resurrection but prefer the Burial Office out of the Anglican Book of Communion Prayer, done either at the funeral home or at grave site. These are alternatives, but Anglicans should be buried from the Church with the Mass as a celebration of their life in Christ.
5. What Christian Liturgies Are Available To Me?
There are four Christian liturgies provided for in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. A fifth liturgy is for those who do not profess the Christian Faith.
- The first liturgy provided by the Prayer Book is an optional one; The Prayers for a Vigil. It is a gathering of friends and family with the deceased. It starts with an informal liturgy of prayer. This service includes readings from Scripture and shared prayers by those assembled. A eulogy or reflection given by a family member or close friendn and music may also be included. This Vigil is followed by an opportunity for visitation with the family.
The praying of the Rosary is often a tradition used by a number Anglicans. The Rosary may be prayed during the liturgy of the Prayers for a Vigil.
It should be noted that the Prayer Vigil is not to take the place of either the Mass of Christian Burial or the Burial Office.
- The second liturgy is the Mass of Christian Burial, often referred to as the Mass of the Resurrection. The Mass is a celebration that uses the symbols of Baptism to remind us of the promises of eternal life. It is a celebration, even though the emotions surrounding it are different from most celebrations we attend. The Mass of the Resurrection is performed with the participation of the people who gathered in shared prayer and in song. The Parish clergy will assist the family in planning the liturgy. Funerals are times of a heightened need for memories. This can sometimes distort the purpose of the churches rites: making them opportunities for someone’s favorite songs, favorite poems, and favorite devotions. We will work with you to help you keep an appropriate focus for the Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist. The Mass will be celebrated in a manner that preserves both the intention of the church’s rites, while adequately connecting these rites in a personal way to the loved one.
The Parish can provide a personal, printed program for each funeral as a participation aid. This is especially helpful for those attending who are not Anglicans. We endeavor to make everyone feel welcome. The personalized printed programs may be taken home. St. Uriel’s has also provides printed missalettes which contains the Mass of Christian Burial. These missalettes have not been personalized. They are the property of St. Uriel's and need to remain in the Church following the liturgy.
- The third liturgy commonly called the Committal, takes place at the Cemetery or the Columbarium. Normally, the Committal is done at gravesite following the Mass. If the Mass is being celebrated and the body or cremains are to be shipped to another place for burial, the Commital may be done in the Church at the conclusion of the Mass. It is important for us to know that this is the plan for burial prior to the funeral.
- This fourth option is the Burial Office. It is a burial liturgy that can be done either in the Church, at graveside, or in the funeral home. Again, the Mass of Christian Burial is the proper liturgy for the Anglican.
6. When Can I Plan a Funeral?
You may wish to plan your own funeral now and alleviate your family of the burden later. Your wishes regarding music, scriptures, and other instructions for your Mass of Christian Burial will be kept in the Parish Office. Make an appointment with the Rector to begin this process. There are some helpful tools to assist you in reflecting on and preparing for your funeral.
Certainly, after a loved one has died, contact the parish office (732) 449-6173 so we can not only offer you our support but also help you plan the rites of Christian burial. We are able to do this planning with very short notice. We do understand the importance of flexibility, especially when family members live in different areas of the country.
Do not wait until the person has died. Call the parish and let the priests be aware of the pastoral situation. The priests will be happy to visit with the dying, to pray with them and give spiritual aid to bith the dying and the members of the family. The person dying may desire tomake their confession or discuss matters of their faith to the priest. The person dying may wish to recieve the Blessed Sacrament. When it is time, the Last Rites of the Church can be administered to the dying. Do not impoverish your loved ones by calling the Church he or she has died.
Call the Church so that a priest may visit the dying and anoint the person with holy oil, and pray for healing. While death is a healing in that the person has now entered into the larger life, time and time again, many have been healed and returned to their day to day lives. Also, have the person' name added to the parish prayer list where they will be prayed for at every Mass.
Scripture selections for the
Mass of Christian Burial:
Readings for Christian Burial