The Funeral Mass
When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of of the Mass. In Celebrating Mass for the dead, “those present, in union with the whole Church, offer prayers and petitions for the deceased, whom they entrust to God’s merciful love”.
If the rite of reception of the body takes place at the beginning of the funeral Mass, the immediate family and pall bearers are met at the entrance of the Church by the Priest. The casket or urn is sprinkled with Holy water and then after the placing of the pall, the procession to the Sanctuary is accompanied by the singing of the Introit, or Entrance Antiphon and its psalm. This Antiphon is called the “Requiem Aeternam” which translated means Eternal Rest, grant unto them, O Lord.
The Liturgy of the Word begins with Scripture readings read by a Lector. Taking into account that it is a difficult and sometimes emotional setting, at the Cathedral parish, we are happy to have one of our trained parish Lectors or Seminarians read. It is however, permitted to have a family member read if this is desirable. The Responsorial Psalm is sung by the cantor or choir between the 1st and 2nd reading.
The Church instructs that preference should be given to the singing of acclamations, the Responsorial Psalm, the Entrance and Communion chants, and the song of farewell and the Final commendation, called the In Paradisum. (Rite of Christian Funerals, #157).
Ordinarily a Hymn may be sung after the Communion antiphon is completed, and after the In Paradisum , as the priest and the other ministers leave the sanctuary and accompany the body in the Recessional procession. From the Church, the procession continues to the place of Final Committal at the Cemetery.
The next installment will describe the Rite of Committal.