At some point in our lives, we all lose a loved one. This is one of life’s most painful and stressful realities, and the power of grief can catch us off guard. Thankfully, we can rely on the Catholic Funeral Rite to guide us gently through the difficult journey of saying goodbye to our loved ones in the knowledge that Christ is by our side.

Understanding the Catholic Funeral Rite

The Catholic Funeral Rite, officially called the Order of Christian Funerals, consists of three moments, each designed with a specific purpose to support us with God’s love us as we struggle through the phases of a loss.

The Vigil is the first part of this journey and includes a community gathering, prayer and the sharing of stories about the deceased. By remembering our loved ones in this intimate way, it allows tears and laughter to come forward in a very human expression of the Paschal Mystery.

The second part of the Catholic Funeral Rite is the Funeral Mass, a eucharistic celebration during which we hand our loved ones to the safety and care of the Lord. During this special Mass, we see our loved ones take a journey through the Paschal Mystery in a profound way as they go through the experience of dying while proclaiming hope for the power of God’s love to raise them from the dead.

Finally, the Rite of Committal is the last part of the journey of the Catholic Funeral Rite. We say our final goodbyes during this powerful rite, which reminds us that we are always surrounded by God’s unfailing love, even in the midst of our sorrow.

The Gift of Planning Ahead

While death can come unexpectedly, we can still be prepared. Through pre-planning, we can ensure our family members won’t be burdened by additional emotional and financial stress in their time of grief. Pre-planning final arrangements can help ensure the deceased has everything planned according to their wishes so surviving family members don’t have to guess about what they would have wanted. This can be a wonderful gift to those left behind.

Whether you have experienced a recent loss or lost a loved one long ago, I hope the love of Christ brings you much comfort and hope.

Many blessings.