The Funeral Mass is the principal celebration of the Christian Funeral. Catholic funerals rites are not a celebration of life, as is often thought, but rather an expression of Christian hope in eternal life. The family will be involved in planning the funeral rites from the choice of texts provided in the ritual.
The Funeral Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church is normally scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday or Thursday to ensure the presence of the parish community who are there to worship with the family and provide much needed support in their time of grief. This is in accord with Church teaching which emphasizes the importance of the presence of the community at Catholic funerals:
“The community’s principal involvement in the ministry of consolation is expressed in its active participation in the celebration of the funeral rites, particularly the vigil for the deceased, the funeral liturgy, and the rite of committal. For this reason these rites should be scheduled at times that permit as many of the community as possible to be present.” [Order of Christian Funerals [OCF, 11].
This clearly demonstrates that the Funeral Liturgy of the Catholic Church is an official public prayer of the Church. As the Constitution on the Liturgy states:
“Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations belonging to the Church which is the sacrament of unity … Therefore liturgical services involve the whole Body of the Church.” [CSL, 26]. Thus, the funeral liturgy of the Catholic Church is not the personal prayer of the deceased or of the family of the deceased, but rather the public prayer of the Church. As St. Pope John Paul II expressed that as Catholic we are not saved as individuals, “but as members of the mysical body, having become part of the people of God.”
A Funeral Mass may not be celebrated in a funeral home or similar facility.
A Funeral Mass is also celebrated for baptized infants and young children. A Funeral Mass may also be celebrated for a child whose parents intended them to be baptized but who died before baptism.