The Rite of Christian Burial

Our Deepest Sympathy...



We direct these words in particular to those who have lost loved ones.  The Rector, the staff and the parishioners of Saint Uriel's offer our prayerful support especially at this time of your loss.  We want you to know that in the days and months ahead we are willing to be of whatever help we might be to you.  We are also aware that we cannot remove your pain, but we hope to be able to assist you in whatever way possible as you attempt to find God's loving presence even in the midst of suffering.



We hope that you will find the following information on this page helpful.  That Rector and the parish staff is here to assist you in planning a Funeral Liturgy and celebrating the Rites of Christian Burial, including selections for readings, songs and family member participation in the Mass.  We will help you prepare for the three stages of Christian burial: the Prayer Vigil, the Funeral Mass, and the Interment. 


Title: "Be Not Afraid" 

Album: Earthen Vessels

Artist: St. Louis Jesuits


Our Anglican way of life teaches us that death is not an end of life, but a change.  In the burial of a Christian, we celebrate the faith of the deceased person and Christ’s victory over death and suffering.  Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of all. 


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 Christian Burial 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.


Before a loved one has died, contact St. Uriel's: 

Be sure to let the priests be aware of the pastoral situation. They will be happy to visit with the dying, to pray with them, and give spiritual aid to with the dying and to the members of the family. The person who is gravely ill may desire to make their confession or discuss matters of faith with the priest.  The person may wish to recieve the Blessed Sacrament.  When it is time, the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick can be administered to the dying.  Please, do not impoverish your loved ones by calling the Church after the loved one has died.

The following guidelines are designed to be best applied in consultation with the Rector or one of the parish priests.


What Should I Know As We Begin This Process?

One must first remember, that the Mass of Christian Burial is a Mass celebrated for the repose of the soul of the faithful departed.  It is not about "us".  It is about Christ and Him crucified and risen.  Often people will say, "I want to have a celebration of life for my loved one."  That is fine, but it is not what the Mass of Christian Burial is about.  The celebration of the life of a loved one takes place at the repast following the liturgy.


With that in mind, 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.

  1. We always have to consider the scheduled use of the church building, the availability of clergy, and the occasional restriction of the Church year (which prohibit the celebration of a funeral, i.e. Sundays and on certain Holy Days).  Since we want to serve you as best we can, this consultation is important.

  2. 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, and Eucharistic Ministers of the Holy Communion at the Mass if licensed

  • process into the church with casket or cremated remains

  • bring forward the gifts in the Offertory procession

  • plan the readings and the music for the liturgy along with the parish priest.​

  1. 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.  The pall will be used during all liturgies involving the deceased. There can be no open casket during the Mass of Christian Burial.

  2. Music:  If you desire music, the Director of Music is available.  We also have the ministry of Cantor which adds 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.

  3. 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 church or just anywhere in the Sanctuary.  In consultation with the Flower Guild Director, the appropraite flower arrangemnets at the altar and/or at any of the side altars will be made in consultation with the Flower Guild Director. All other flower arrangements are to 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.

  4. Items of remembrance:  Funerals are special times of remembering.  Remembrances and photos can be important.  Families may wish to put photographs (arranged as a display), a portrait, or other personal belongings in the Narthex.  If there is to be a repast in the parish hall, this too would be a good setting to set up a pictorial display.

  5. Repast:  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.


Who Can Be Buried From the Parish? 

  • 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).

  • Any Christian who has a connection to St. Uriel's through another family member (spouse, parent, etc.). 

  • Any Christian who once was a member of St. Uriel's may have their Mass of Christian Burial here. 

  • Any Christian without a church home can be buried from the St. Uriel's. 

  • 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.

  • 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.  

  • A Mass of Christian Burial should be celebrated for an unbaptized infant.

  • 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 give their child a name. 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.


Can I Be Cremated And Still Be Buried From The Church? 


In the Anglican tradition, cremation is permitted.  There are three options a family may choose from:

  • The family may bring the body to church for the Mass, and then have the remains cremated.  [This is always the preferred.]

  • the cremated remains may be brought directly to the church for the Mass.  The interment may follow directly after the Mass.

  • The family may wish to have direct cremation.  At a later time, when family and friends can get together, a Mass may be offered for the repose of the deceased.  

All of these options may be discussed 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 purchase niches for their family.  Information for purchasing a niche can be obtained through the Parish Office. 

Where Do We Celebrate the Parts of the Funeral?

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 of Christian Burial, the veiwing may take place at the church rather than the Funeral Home.  This can be a meaningful alternative for family members.  The evening may start or conclude with the short liturgy Prayers for a Vigil (Book of Common Prayer), and then the family can receive guests.  The body or the cremated remains can stay at the church overnight.


For some reasons, celebrating a Mass of Christian Burial may not be appropriate.  Therefore, in such a case, Burial Office out of the Book of Communion Prayer is a viable alternative.  This liturgy may be done either at the funeral home or at grave site. It should be noted, that Anglicans should be buried from the Church with the Mass. 


When Can I Plan a Funeral?

In consultation with a priest of the parish, you may wish to plan your 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.  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.

Lectionary for Christian Burial