In order to have a funeral here at Holy Trinity, you must first contact the funeral home and they will contact Holy Trinity.  If you are not going through a funeral home and just want to have a memorial Mass, contact the Parish Office at 366-4400.

The following is guidelines in planning a Funeral Liturgy:

The Nature of the Funeral Rites of the Catholic Church

      According to ancient custom, the Catholic Church regards ritual actions surrounding death and burial with great care and concern.  This is because we believe that through baptism, the human body is a true temple of the Holy Spirit.  Reverence and respect are thus accorded the deceased.  The various rituals have been developed to support this basic belief.

     In ancient times there were several stages or stations that comprised the complete burial rite: a vigil or prayer service in the home, the funeral liturgy itself, and the burial.  These “stages” were connected by processions, often accompanied with hymns expressing faith in the resurrection of the dead.  Although times have changed since those early days, these stages are still observed in some form.

      Through use of certain symbols, the Church affirms its belief and hope in the face of death.  The Easter Candle is displayed in a prominent place.  The sign of Jesus’ resurrection and victory over sin and death, this is the light that shines within each of us through baptism.

     The sacredness of the human body as a temple of the Holy Spirit is further noted through the sprinkling of the body with holy water and the clothing of the coffin with a white cloth.  Near the end of the liturgy the body is incensed, both a sign of respect and of the prayers of the community on behalf of the deceased.

     Within the past few years the Catholic Church has removed its former restrictions against cremation.  However, the same level of care must be shown for the body of the deceased.  If cremation is chosen, the preference of the Church is that the funeral liturgy occurs prior to the cremation.  In such a case, the only difference would be the final disposition of the body.  Rather than a procession to the cemetery immediately following the funeral liturgy, the body of the deceased would be taken to be cremated.  The final disposition of the cremains would occur at some time set with the funeral director and/or the parish (if a priest is to be present to bless the final resting place of the cremains).

     Should the cremation take place prior to the funeral liturgy, it is suitable that the cremains be brought into the church in procession with the family, just as would happen if there were a casket.  In such a case, a table is set up in front of the Easter Candle where the cremains are to be placed.  At the end of the funeral liturgy, the family carries the cremains out with the same due reverence as would occur with a casket.

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Planning a Funeral Liturgy


Several factors should be considered in the planning process:


·       family involvement


·       selection of Scripture readings


·       music


·       different formats for the services


·       the basic structure of the Mass of Christian Burial




There are many ways in which the family members and friends of the deceased can be involved in the services.  Proclaiming the Scripture readings, distributing the Eucharist (you must already be a commissioned Eucharistic Minister), reading the intercessions (petitions), or presenting the gifts for the Mass, are among the ways in which several persons can be involved.

Someone from the family or a close friend might wish to offer some words of remembrance about the deceased.  This should be brief (no more than a few minutes) and take place when the body is brought into the church.

At the beginning of the Mass of Christian Burial, the priest sprinkles the casket with holy water.  This sign is the first of several symbols reminding us that through baptism we share in the resurrection of Christ.  Immediately following this the family members are invited to place the pall over the casket.  The pall is a large, white cloth that covers the casket.  This is a reminder of baptism – when the newly-baptized person is given a white garment, the outward sign of new life in Christ.

Family members are encouraged to participate in a procession to present the gifts of bread and wine that will be used in the Mass.  During this Preparation Ritual, additional family members may carry up flowers.

-a special note regarding the words of remembrance:

Sometimes families wish to offer some words of remembrance about the deceased.  While presenting a eulogy is not permitted to take place during the Mass itself, there are some appropriate ways in which special words of remembrance can occur.

If there is a visitation in church prior to the Mass of Christian Burial, a brief prayer service concludes the visitation.  After this prayer service, words of remembrance can be offered.

 - or-

Prior to the Mass of Christian Burial, a designated family member or friend can offer words of remembrance about the deceased.  This would take place just after the casket is brought into the church with the family members gathered around the casket or seated.  Only one person should be designated to deliver the words of remembrance, which should be no more than a few minutes.

- or -

The graveside service or commendation service at the cemetery chapel provides another appropriate opportunity for someone to offer a brief tribute.

Please also remember that there is a big difference in the planning and writing of a tribute to the deceased and its deliverance.  This can be a very emotional time for family members and friends.  Trying to deliver a public statement while struggling with personal remembrances and feelings can be very difficult.  Sometimes it is best to save these remembrances for the family gathering after the funeral.  (Please see the Outline for Words of Remembrance below)

Outline for Words of Remembrance

  1. Statement of thanksgiving for the life of the deceased

  2. Recollections of what the faith meant in his/her life

  3. Possible examples of how the deceased lived out faith in Jesus


    The Words of Remembrance should be brief, no longer than three minutes, and fitting for the occasion.  This is not meant to be a recounting of all the details of the deceased’s life, but a recollection of how the Christian faith shaped his/her life.  It is particularly appropriate to note the legacy of faith that the deceased handed on to the family.


    Personal recollections of various events in the life of the deceased, ways in which the deceased affected or influenced others, things about the deceased that will be cherished and remembered are appropriate for the family gathering at a vigil or wake service, at the cemetery, or when the family gathers after the funeral.








    There are many Scripture passages that are particularly suited to the Mass of Christian Burial.  The Bereavement Committee member will go over these passages with you and assist in your selections.  To this end, a collection of suggested Scripture passages can be found in these pages (11-15) and in the booklet provided you.  Perhaps you already have a favorite Scripture passage that you would like to use; or perhaps the deceased had a favorite passage.  Simply let the Bereavement Committee member know this when you meet to plan the funeral.  There is a sheet for selections found in the “Through Death to Life” booklet.


    You should give a copy of the Scripture readings selected to those who will read them so that they can practice.  It is not necessary to bring these with you to the funeral.  The Scripture readings will already be in place at the pulpit.




    The Mass of Christian Burial is not a private ceremony but a community prayer commending the deceased to God.  Music selected for the Mass should engage the congregation and invite the participation of everyone.  The songs chosen should reflect the action that is taking place.


    Please remember that favorite songs, while having great meaning for certain family members, might not always be appropriate for congregational worship. A better place for this would be during the visitation time prior to the funeral Mass itself, while people are gathering.


    Our parish Music Director, Mrs. Alice Barnes, has compiled a list of songs that are especially suitable for funerals.  The Bereavement Committee member will assist you in selecting music. (see page 17)  Please note that the musician will take care of certain things automatically, such as the musical settings for the “Holy, Holy,” “Lamb of God,” and Responsorial Psalm




    You may choose to compose these prayers or you may simply use one of the standard sets of intercessions.  A family member may read these prayers if you so desire.  Samples of these prayers can found in this booklet to assist you.  (page 16)






    In addition to the Mass of Christian Burial, the ritual of the Church provides other prayer opportunities:


    Wake Service – This simple service, consisting of prayer and Scripture readings, is conducted by someone from the parish or by family members.  This normally takes place during the time of visitation.


    Burial Service outside of Mass – This type of service would take place in the funeral home or the church building.  This service consists of several prayers for the deceased and family members and Scripture readings.  There are several opportunities for the involvement of family members during such a service if you so desire.


    Visitation – It is the preference of some to have a brief visitation at the church itself rather than in a funeral home.  This should be arranged through the funeral director, who will contact the parish office.  In such a case, the Mass of Christian Burial immediately follows the time of visitation.


    Memorial Mass – In some instances the deceased may have wished to donate his/her body for scientific research.  While there is no body or cremated remains, a Memorial Mass follows the same outline as a normal Mass.  However, family involvement in selection of Scripture passages, music, etc. is still encouraged.





    The Mass of Christian Burial follows the regular structure of the Mass with the following additions:


    • after the family and friends of the deceased have assembled at the church, they are met by the priest at the doors; the casket is then brought up the aisle accompanied by family members


    • should there be a visitation at the church itself, the casket is closed at the appropriate time and then taken to the church doors where the family assembles to accompany the body up the aisle


    • in case of cremation, the same procedure is followed as noted above


    • if someone is offering any words of remembrance, this would occur once the casket or remains are in place or if there is a visitation in church, the words of remembrance conclude the visitation


    • the casket is sprinkled with holy water and the white pall is placed over the body by family members


    • family members may be involved in the Preparation Rite (presenting the gifts of bread and wine and/or placing flowers on the casket)


    • during the Exchange of Peace, some fitting gesture of consolation can be extended to the bereaved family


    • following the distribution of Communion, the body of the deceased is incensed and the person is commended to God


    • the body of the deceased is reverently taken from the church to the place of burial


    • in the case of cremation, where the cremains are present, most of the above would apply as well





    Trinity Hall can be used for a family gathering following the cemetery service.  This must be arranged through the Parish Office.


    The funeral home will act as the contact with the parish for any special arrangements.


    Priest and/or deacon friends of the family are welcome to be involved in the funeral liturgy.


    Friends of the family who are musicians or vocalists are welcome to join with the parish music ministry.  However, the parish Music Director should be contacted before any arrangements are made.


    The Parish Office is not able to assemble funeral programs.  Should you wish to have a program, the following pages (8, 9 & 10) offer a basic outline for a program.



    Funeral Mass Program – Sample Outline


    Option 1.  Mass of Christian Burial


    (The family arrives with the body at the main doors of church.  The family gathers in the vestibule and is greeted at the door.  The casket is escorted up the main aisle.)


    Prelude Song (Optional – when the family arrives)


    Words of Remembrance (Optional)


    Greeting of Family at Doors of Church


    Blessing of the Body and Placement of Pall


    Gathering Song


    Old Testament Reading


    Responsorial Psalm


    Second Reading


    Gospel Acclamation






    General Intercessions


    Song during Preparation of the Gifts




    Song of Farewell


    Closing Song


    If the deceased is a veteran and there is a flag for the casket, the National Anthem can be sung while the flag is placed on the casket.





    Option II.  Mass of Christian Burial Preceded by Visitation in Church


    Conclusion of visitation – Prayers


    Words of Remembrance (Optional)


    Prelude Song (while casket is closed)


    Greeting of Family at Doors of Church


    Blessing of the Body and Placement of Pall


    Gathering Song


    Old Testament Reading


    Responsorial Psalm


    Second Reading


    Gospel Acclamation






    General Intercessions


    Song during Preparation of the Gifts


    Communion Song


    Song of Farewell


    Closing Song


    If the deceased is a veteran and there is a flag for the casket, the National Anthem can be sung while the flag is placed on the casket.






    Option III.  Mass of Christian Burial with Cremation and Visitation in Church


    The format is exactly the same as that found in Option II, with these exceptions:


    • the cremains are carried up the aisle escorted by family and places on a small table

    • the family immediately files into pews

    • there is no placing of the pall



      At the conclusion, the cremains are to be taken for burial, just as if there were a casket.




      Option IV.  Mass of Christian Burial with Cremation (no Church Visitation)


      The format is exactly the same as that found in Option 1, with these exceptions:


    • there is no gathering of the family at the church doors

    • Mass begins in the usual way, unless there are Words of Remembrance

    • If there are Words of Remembrance, this takes place at the beginning, before the Gathering Song





      Additional Scriptures


      1A  Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11


      A reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes


      There is an appointed time for everything,

         and a time for every thing under the heavens.

      A time to be born, and a time to die;

         a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

      A time to kill, and a time to heal;

         a time to tear down, and a time to build.

      A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

         a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

      A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;

         a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

      A time to seek, and a time to lose;

         a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

      A time to rend, and a time to sew;

         a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

      A time to love, and a time to hate;

         a time of war, and a time of peace.


      What advantage has the worker from his toil?

      I have considered the task that God has appointed

         for the sons of men to be busied about.

      He has made everything appropriate to its time,

         and has put the timeless into their hearts,

         without man’s ever discovering,

         from beginning to end, the work which God has done.


      The word of the Lord.






      2A  Sirach 3; 2-6, 12-15


      A reading from the Book of Sirach


      God sets a father in honor over his children;

         A mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.

      Whoever honors his father atones for sins,

         and preserves himself from them

      when he prays, he is heard;

         He stores up riches who reveres his mother.

      Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,

         and, when he prays, is heard.

      Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;

         he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.


      My son, take care of your father when he is old;

         grieve him not as long as he lives.

      Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;

         revile him not all the days of his life;

      Kindness to a father will not be forgotten,

        firmly planted against the debt of your sins

      • a house raised in justice to you.


      The word of the Lord





      3A  Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31


      A reading from the Book of Proverbs


      When one finds a worthy wife,

         her value is far beyond pearls.

      Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,

         has an unfailing prize.

      She brings him good, and not evil,

         all the days of her life.

      She obtains wool and flax

         and cloth with skillful hands.

      She puts her hands to the distaff,

         and her fingers ply the spindle.

      She reaches out her hands to the poor,

         and extends her arms to the needy.

      Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;

         The woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

      give her a reward of her labors,

         and let her works praise her at the city gates.


      The word of the Lord.








    4A  Sirach 26: 1-4, 13-18


    A reading from the Book of Sirach


    Blessed the husband of a good wife,

       twice-lengthened are his days;

    A worthy wife brings joy to her husband,

       peaceful and full is his life.

    A good wife is a generous gift

       bestowed upon him who fears the Lord;

    be he rich or poor, his heart is content,

       and a smile is ever on his face.


    A gracious wife delights her husband,

       her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;

    A gift from the Lord is her governed speech,

       and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.

    Choicest of blessings is a modest wife,

       priceless her chaste soul.

    A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace;

       indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul.

    Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens,

       the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.


    The word of the Lord.

5A  II Timothy 4: 6-8

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy


For I am already being poured out like a libation,

     and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have competed well;

     I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,

     which the Lord, the just judge,

     will award to me on that day, and not only to me,

     but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The word of the Lord.


You may choose to write your own intercessions or use one of the standard sets of intercessions.  the following are sample prayers.  Usually, there are four to six intercessory prayers.

For ________, who in baptism was given the pledge of eternal life, that he/she now be admitted to the company of the saints.  We pray to the Lord.

Four our brother/sister who ate the body of Christ, the bread of life, that he/she may be raised up on the last day.  We pray to the Lord.

For the family and friends of our brother/sister________, that they may be consoled in their grief by the Lord who wept at the death of his friend Lazarus.  We pray to the Lord.

For those who have fallen asleep in the hope of rising again, that they may see God face to face.  We pray to the Lord.

For all of us assembled here to worship in faith; that we may be gathered together again in God's kingdom.  We pray to the Lord.

That the bishops and priests of the Church, and all who preach the Gospel may be given the strength to express in action the word they proclaim.  We pray to the Lord.

For those who care for the sick.  May they find strength and encouragement in their work.  We pray to the Lord.

That those who bear the cross of pain in mind and body may never feel forsaken by God.  We pray to the Lord.

That God may call ________ to happiness in the company of all the saints.  We pray to the Lord.

In baptism ________ received the light of Christ.  Scatter the darkness now and lead him/her over the waters of death.  We pray to the Lord.

Our brother/sister was nourished at the table of the Savior.  Welcome him/her into the hall of the heavenly banquet.  We pray to the Lord.

Many friends and members of our families have gone before us and await the kingdom.  Grant them an everlasting home with your Son.  We pray to the Lord.

The family and friends of ________ seek comfort and consolation.  Heal their pain and dispel the darkness and doubt that come from grief.  We pray to the Lord.

Music Selections for Funeral Mass

Prelude Songs

In This Very Room

Ave Maria

The Prayer

Gathering Hymns

Lord of All Hopefulness G#578

We Walk By Faith G#590

Joyful, Joyful We Adore You G#528

Holy, Holy, Holy G#474

We Remember G#593

Be Not Afraid G#608

You Are Mine G#649

Blest Are They G#659

Gather Us In G#744

Jesus Remember Me G#404

Amazing Grace G#612

You Are The Voice G#549

How Great Thou Art G#494

Blest Be The Lord G#617

I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say G#646

Come To The Feast G#503

There's Wideness In God's Mercy G#626

Responsorial Psalms

Shepherd Me O God G#31

The Lord Is My Light G#39

My Shepherd Is The Lord G#30

Your Love Is Finer Than Life G#62

I Will Praise You Lord G#41

You Will Show Me The Path Of Life G#24

The Name Of God G#110

I Will Walk In The Presence G#108

I Have Loved You G#504

You Are Near G#604

Shelter Me O God G#636

My Soul Is Thirsting G#61

Center Of My Life G#598

Let Your Mercy Be On Us G#45

Preparation of Gifts Hymns (Instrumental Music is most appropriate)

Eye Has Not Seen G#638

I Know That My Redeemer Lives G#854

The King Of Love My Shepherd Is G#635

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say G#646

Now We Remain G#694

We Have Been Told G#699

Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace G#726

Shelter Me O God G#636

We Shall Rise Again G#772

I Will Be With You G#455

Center Of My Life G#598

Come To Me G#650

Dwelling Place G#594

Communion Hymns

In The Breaking Of The Bread G#841

I Am The Bread Of Life G#828

Taste And See G#814

The Living Bread Of God G#826

One Bread One Body G#830

Take And Eat G#831

Now In This Banquet G#833

Eat This Bread G#838

At That First Eucharist G#852

I Received The Loving God G#851

Look Beyond G#843

You Satisfy The Hungry Heart G#815

We Are Many Parts G#733

Behold The Lamb G#823

Let Us Be Bread G#816

Whatsoever You Do G#670

Come To The Feast G#503

Song Of Farewell During Incensing

The Hand Of God G#859

Saints Of God G#862

Song Of Farewell M

May Coirs Of Angels G#863

Cloasing Hymns

Holy God We Praise Thy Name G#524

Now We Thank We All Our God G#565

On Eagles Wings G#611

How Can I Keep From Singing G#603

I Will Not Die G#657

Let There Be Peace G#731

We Are Called G#718

For All The Saints G#793

Here I Am Lord G#686

Joyful Joyful G#528

How Great Thou Art G#494

Though The Mountains May Fall G#602

Lead Us From Death G#732

G:  Gather Comprehensive Hymnal

M:  The Missal of Music Issue