By Fr. Paul Sullivan, St. Gregory Catholic Church

For Catholics, the pain of losing someone is tempered by the hope Jesus’s resurrection brings. When we lay our loved one to rest in a Catholic cemetery, we are consoled further by having a final resting place that is consecrated ground and where others who share our faith are also buried. This faith in God includes the resurrection of our mortal bodies.

In our Catholic faith, we also have another tradition that brings us solace in our time of mourning: the Catholic Funeral Rite. This rite was carefully laid out to help guide us through the grieving process by comforting us with the support of our fellow Catholics and reminding us of the hope of eternal life Jesus ensured for his faithful followers.

The Vigil brings together family and friends of the deceased in prayer. This special time also creates an opportunity for loved ones to reverence the humanity of the one who died and those grieving the loss through the sharing of stories. At the Vigil, the empathy and compassion of those in attendance reminds those grieving that they are not alone in their suffering.

At the Funeral Mass, we’re shown the salvation God offers us through the Pascal Mystery of Jesus’s passion, death and resurrection. Offering up our humanity to God is the greatest prayer we can offer as the work of our redemption is accomplished.

The third and last part of the Catholic Funeral Rite is the Rite of Committal at the cemetery. While saying our goodbyes and placing our loved ones in their final resting place may feel like the end, it actually marks the beginning of the period where we await eternal life and our reunion in heaven. This precious gift can only be possible by way of Jesus Christ.

We are truly blessed to have the Catholic Funeral Rite, which demonstrates the beautiful belief we have as Catholics about God’s boundless love for us, the promise of eternal life and the dignity of the human person.

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