PLANNING A FUNERAL MASS OR PRAYER SERVICE
Funeral planning typically takes place during a meeting between the priest or deacon who will be presiding over the funeral rites and family members of the deceased.
- If a funeral home is involved, they will assist the family in arranging this meeting.
- If a funeral home is not involved, the family should contact the parish office at 636-332-9225 to schedule a meeting to make the necessary arrangements.
No funeral planning is finalized until after a meeting with the presider of the funeral.
You are welcome to download the Planning Sheet for Funeral Mass to begin the planning process prior to meeting with the priest or deacon who will preside over the funeral rites. Simply print it out and fill it in by hand and bring it with you when you meet with the funeral presider.
Note: If you are making funeral preparations well in advance, we may not be able to honor requests for specific personnel.
Bereavement and Funerals
Click the links below for information regarding Bereavement and Funerals from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
- Biblical Readings for the Funeral Liturgy
- An Overview of Catholic Funeral Rites
- Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- Music at Funerals
- Non-Catholic Readers at Funeral Mass
- Prayers for Death and Dying
"Music is integral to the funeral rites. It allows the community to express convictions and feelings that words alone may fail to convey. It has the power to console and uplift the mourners and to strengthen the unity of the assembly in faith and love. The texts of songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord’s suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from Scripture.
Since music can evoke strong feelings, the music for the celebration rites should be chosen with great care. The music at funerals should support, console, and uplift the participants and should help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and in the Christian’s share in the victory.
Music should be provided for the vigil and the funeral liturgy and, whenever possible, for the funeral processions and the rite of committal. The specific notes that precede each of these rites suggest places in the rites where music is appropriate. Many musical settings used by the parish community during the liturgical year may be suitable for use at funerals. Efforts should be made to develop and expand the parish’s repertoire for use at funerals.
A pianist, organist, or other instrumentalists, a cantor, and whenever possible, even a choir should assist the assembly’s full participation in singing the songs, responses, and acclamations of these rites" (Order of Christian Funerals: General Introduction, 30-33).
Specific to St. Patrick Catholic Church
Because music has such a dignified place within the funeral liturgies, at St. Patrick Catholic Church we presume that our pianist/organist and cantor will be assisting at each funeral. Guest musicians or cantors will be considered at the family’s request and could be incorporated into the funeral liturgy according to specific abilities and preferences of each musician or cantor. The Music Director will be the final authority on guest musicians.
The Scriptures appropriate for use at Catholic Funeral Liturgy are in a booklet entitled, "Through Death to Life" by Joseph M. Champlin. You will be offered one of these booklets when you meet with the Priest or Deacon planning the funeral. From this booklet, you may select the prayers of the Mass or you may click on the readings below to review before making your selection.
After you have decided, make one selection from each: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and a Gospel. During the Easter Season, the Church offers a separate set of New Testament readings that replace the Old Testament readings used outside of the Easter season. Simply indicate on the Planning Sheet for Funeral Mass the letter-number (ex. C-1) of the reading in the space provided and bring it with you when you meet the Priest or Deacon who will be the presider. Note: Clicking on the link will take you to the readings on the USCCB website.
*Other Scripture passages can be presented to the presider for approval.
**Non-Scripture readings cannot be read in place of these readings but could be used in the worship aides or through some other means.
Old Testament - 1st Reading
C-1: 2 Maccabees 12:43-46 "...he made atonement for the dead..."
C-2: Job 19: 1, 23-27a "...I know that my vindicator lives...."
C-3: Wisdom 3:1-9 "...The souls of the just are in the hand of God..." (Long)
C-3: Wisdom 3:1-6,9 "...The souls of the just are in the hand of God..." (Short)
C-4: Wisdom 4:7-14 "An unsullied life, the attainment of old age..."
C-5: Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9 "...he will destroy death forever..."
C-6: Lamentations 3:17-26 "...My portion is the Lord, says my soul..."
C-7: Daniel 12:1-3 "...the wise shall shine brightly..."
C-8: Acts of the Apostles 10:34-43 "Everyone who believes in him..." (Long)
C-8: Acts of the Apostles 10:34-36,42-43 "Everyone who believes in him..." (Short)
C-9: Revelation 14:13 "...Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord..."
C-10: Revelation 20:11-12:1 "...The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades..."
C-11: Revelation 21:1-5a,6b-7 "...I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem..."
E-1: Romans 5:1,5-11 "...We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son..."
E-2: Romans 5:17-21 "...through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all..."
E-3: Romans 6:3-9 "...if we have died with Christ, we believe..." (Long)
E-3: Romans 6:3-4,8-9 "...if we have died with Christ, we believe,,," (Short)
E-4: Romans 8:14-23 "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are Children of God"
E-5: Romans 8:31b-35,37-39 "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
E-6: Romans 14:7-9,10c-12 "This is why Christ died and came to life"
E-7: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 "In Adam all die, so too if Christ shall all be brought to life." (Long)
E-7: 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 "In Adam all die, so too if Christ shall all be brought to life." (Short)
E-8: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 "Death where is your victory?"
E-9: 2 Corinthians 4:14--5:1 "The one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us..."
E-10: 2 Corinthians 5:1,6-10 "We would rather leave the body and go home..."
E-11: Philippians 3:20-21 "He will change our lowly body..."
E-12: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 "If we believe that Jesus died and rose..."
E-13: 2 Timothy 2:8-13 "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead..."
E-14: 1 John 3:1-2 "Beloved, we are God's children now..."
E-15: 1 John 3:14-16 "We know that we have passed from death to life..."
G-1: Matthew 5:1-12a "The Eight Beatitudes"
G-2: Matthew 11:25-30 "come to me . . . and I will give you rest."
G-3: Matthew 25:1-13 "Look. The bridegroom comes. Go out to meet him"
G-4: Matthew 25:31-46 "Come, you whom my Father has blessed"
G-5: Mark 15:33 ---16:6 "Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last" (Long)
G-5: Mark 15:33-39 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Short)
G-6: Luke 7:11-17 "Young man, I say to you, arise."
G-7: Luke 12:3-40 "Be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,..."
G-8: Luke 23:33-43 "Today you will be with me in paradise."
G-9: Luke 23:44 ---24:6a "Father, I put my life in your hands." (Long)
G-9: Luke 23:44-46,50,52-53 "Father into your hands I commend my spirit" (Short)
G-10: Luke 24:13-35 "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer..." (Long)
G-10: Luke 24:13-16,28-35 "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer..." (Short)
G-11: John 5:24-29 "Whoever hears my word and believes has passed from..."
G-12: John 6:37-40 "All who believe in the Son will have eternal life..."
G-13: John 6:51-59 "All who eat this bread will live forever...."
G-14: John 11:17-27 "I am the resurrection and the life." (Long)
G-14: John 11:21-27 "I am the resurrection and the life." (Short)
G-15: John 11:32-45 "Lazarus, come out."
G-16: John 12:23-28 "If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies..." (Long)
G-16: John 12:23-26 "If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies..." (Short)
G-17: John 14:1-6 "There are many rooms in my Father's house."
G-18: John 17:24-26 "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me..."
G-19: John 19:17-18,25-39 "Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirits."
The standard procedure for a funeral at St. Patrick Catholic Church is that a funeral director (funeral home or mortuary) works with St. Patrick parish staff to set up the details of the visitation, funeral Mass or liturgy, luncheon, and interment. Funeral directors are very helpful to the parish in that they arrange for the times of the events, assist in setting up for the visitation if it is held at St. Patrick, and help the family in coordinating the luncheon and the interment. They also provide valuable assistance with programs, easels and tables for pictures and memory displays, and guest books.
- Normally the procedure is that, after news of death, the funeral home is contacted first.
- The funeral home will then contact St. Patrick to determine possible times and dates for a funeral Mass/Liturgy.
- The family will meet with the funeral director and confirm the date/time.
- Family members should then contact St. Patrick to arrange for a meeting with the priest or deacon who will preside at the funeral. This is to choose scripture readings, hymns, and other details of the funeral liturgy.
If the family of the deceased requests a guest clergy, the family should inform the presider from St. Patrick at the time of their meeting. The funeral liturgy will be presided over by a St. Patrick priest or deacon. The guest priest/deacon will always be welcome to concelebrate (or assist in the case of a deacon) as long as he is in good standing. At the discretion of the presider, the guest priest/deacon may be permitted to give the homily, final commendation, and lead the service at the cemetery. Normally, a guest priest or deacon will not preside at a funeral liturgy.
Mass or Liturgy without Mass?
The standard liturgy for a deceased Catholic who was in good standing with the Church is a Mass, with the body present. A Mass should always be the presumed format. If there is a question about whether a liturgy without Mass might be more appropriate, the presider should speak to the family. In a case where the deceased is not a practicing Catholic, or lived a life publicly contradicting Catholic beliefs and practice, a liturgy without a Mass might be more appropriate.
Wakes, Flowers, Memorials
Wakes (visitation) may take place prior to the Funeral Liturgy in the vestibule of the church in front of the baptistry. Set-up (flowers, easels, etc., including the casket) may take place no more than 30 minutes prior to the wake. Wakes are limited to no more than two (2) hours. Anyone considering a wake longer than that time frame must utilize the service of a funeral home.
Flower arrangements (no more than two) may be left for use in the church at the discretion of the family as a temporary memorial to the deceased. Floral arrangements may not, however, be left in the church during the Lenten season.
Memorials may be directed to St. Patrick Catholic Church.
Our Table of Plenty Ministry can provide a luncheon for family and friends after the Mass or burial. The Ministry handles meal preparation, serving, and clean-up for lunch. While there is no charge for this service, a donation would be appreciated. Discuss this detail with the presider at the family arrangement meeting.
A child who has died before Baptism
A Mass can always be celebrated for a child who has died, even without baptism. Appropriate prayers are used if the child was not baptized.
Funerals for Non-Catholics
A Catholic funeral may be celebrated (even a Mass) for a person who is not a Catholic, as long as this would not offend the sensibilities of those who attend. This case may arise when the living spouse is Catholic, and the spouse who died practiced no religion.
The grieving process necessarily includes time to remember the life of the deceased loved one. In the Catholic funeral rite, this is most appropriately done during the time of visitation, at lunch, or even at the Vigil (Wake) Service.
Since the Funeral Mass is primarily the time for praise and thanks for God's gift of eternal life in Jesus, we discourage the inclusion of a eulogy at the Mass. Therefore, please be sure to plan for eulogies at the Vigil (Wake) Service.
If a eulogy is to be included at the Funeral Mass, there can be only one speaker, and the reflections may be no more than three minutes long. It must be presented to the priest-celebrant in writing in advance of the Funeral Mass.
In 1997, the Vatican granted permission for funeral Masses to be celebrated with the cremated remains of an individual at the discretion of each diocesan bishop. Though allowing Catholics to choose cremation, the Catholic Church “clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites” (Order of Christian Burial appendix II). In addition to fully expressing the Church’s belief in the resurrection of the body, the presence of the body at the funeral allows the friends and family of the deceased to enter into the grieving process in a way that is substantively different than with the cremated remains. Therefore, those opting to have cremation are strongly encouraged to have the body of the deceased present at the funeral, with cremation and burial to follow in the next couple of days.
By civil and Church law, cremated remains cannot be spread or buried in any place other than a designated cemetery or columbarium. Therefore, prior to funeral services being held at St. Patrick Catholic Church, arrangements must be made for the burial of the cremated remains. For more information on the Church's position regarding the internment of cremains, visit To Rise with Christregarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation, dated 25 October 2016, Vatican or visit the USCCB website at Cremation.
Please note that many cremation groups do not offer the full services of a funeral home, and families opting to use this service will have to make additional arrangements with St. Patrick Church. Please contact the parish office 636-332-9225 for more information.
St. Patrick Catholic Church has a columbarium available to provide an option for Catholic burials at our parish home. Click here for more information.
St. Patrick Cemetery
Our cemetery located at St. Patrick Church is full (no burial plots available for purchase). Burial plots are reserved for the exclusive purchaser(s) of said plot.
Cemetery Grave Listing - to view entire site listing, click on the link next to MEMORIALS (### added).