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We are sorry for the loss of your loved one. Please know of our contained prayers and hope that we share in Jesus, Our Risen Lord. We are blessed to work with you and assist you in laying your loved one to rest.

Three Parts of the Funeral Liturgy

As the times we live in dictate, it is important that you are well-informed about the funeral liturgy of the Catholic Church, and that you have all options available to you.

The Funeral Liturgy typically consists of three parts:

  • the Vigil in the presence of the Body,
  • the Mass of Christian Burial (funeral Mass), and
  • the Rite of Committal (burial, interment).

Typically, the Vigil takes place at the funeral home, the Mass in the Church, and the Committal at the cemetery.

Purpose of the Funeral Liturgy

The primary purpose of the Funeral Liturgy is to pray for your loved one, who is remembered most especially in The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the One-and-for-all Sacrifice of Jesus given for our salvation. We, as Catholics, believe that this prayer is efficacious and beneficial to the soul of our deceased loved ones, therefore the funeral, and most especially the funeral Mass (the second part) should not be considered a mere “celebration of life,” but as a prayer for the repose of the soul of your loved ones.


The prayer vigil, typically held in the evening before the Mass of Christian Burial, is a the time and place to remember and share stories. Eulogies are not permitted at the Mass. If the family would like a eulogy the day of the Mass, it must be done immediately prior to Mass and only one speaker is permitted.

Regarding Cremation

The Holy See issued directives for cremation in 2016. The Catholic Church tolerates and permits cremation, if necessary, for serious reasons. It should be understood that “The Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased.”

If cremation is the course taken, the preference is for the body be received in the Church and for the body to be present for the Funeral Mass and cremated afterwards.

Cremated Remains

We believe that each of us was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by our God (Ps 139:14). Therefore, our bodies, even cremated remains, are treated with the utmost care and respect. They are placed in a sacred space, set apart for being able to visit and pray for the dead. Therefore, the Church tells us:

  • “The conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted.”
  • “The ashes may not be divided among various family members and due respect must be maintained regarding the circumstances of such a conservation.”
  • “In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way.”
  • “Nor may [the ashes] be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects.”
  • Like bodies, cremated remains are not to be intermingled, thus, may be buried/interred in the same space but in separate containers.

Timing of the Funeral Liturgy

Christian Burial should take place reasonably close to the person’s death. Planning a funeral Mass, weeks, even months later because of family availability or convenience while the remains are kept somewhere, uninterred, is disrespectful and undermines the whole point of the Funeral Liturgy, which is to pray for the soul of our loved one. There is always an option of having the Funeral Liturgy, and then having a memorial Mass, weeks or months later when convenient for more family to attend, but the Funeral Liturgy should not be delayed.

Weekday Funerals at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Parish

Due to multiple Mass times, baptisms, weddings, and other celebrations, as well as necessary cleaning and sanitizing, St. Elizabeth Seton Church is not available for funerals on Saturday or Sunday.

Our Pastoral Staff is Here for You

Again, please know that you have the prayers and support of this parish community. If there is any way we can assist you before, during, or after the funeral of your loved one, please do not hesitate to ask.

Celebration of Life

For several years, the word and celebration of “funeral” has been replaced with the phrase “celebration of life.” Although people may deem the Church to be antiquated and “out-of-touch,” the Liturgy or the Mass always has been a celebration of life: the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus and our lives’ participation in His life. At the Funeral Liturgy, we are celebration the departed person’s entrance into the fullness of eternal life. And so, as we celebrate and thank God for this life, we appreciate this life within the context that it is part of the journey toward our destination to an eternal life with our Triune God.

The Liturgy is Christ Jesus’ supreme and unique gift to His Church because we participate and share in the Son’s consummate gift of self to the Father. The Church and Her people, therefore, have a serious responsibility to preserve the awe and beauty of the Liturgy. St. Elizabeth Seton provides guidelines to ensure that the sacredness of the Liturgy and the “celebration of a life in Christ Jesus” remain true.

Eulogies are not a part of the Liturgy. They never have been in the Roman Catholic Faith Tradition part of a Funeral Liturgy. It is not that we do not want to remember the life shared with someone dear to us. However, we want to recall how that person “lived Christ” when having dwelt among us.

There are many numerous venues for family members and loved ones to offer eulogies: at the Funeral reception after the Liturgy; at the gravesite after the religious service; and on a separate occasion at one’s home are a few examples of the family and friends of the decease to recall and share memories. Pictures and other items are permissible upon the administrator’s discernment and decision.

“Props” are not allowed. Again, we are celebrating a religious rite, and the type and volume of pictures and other items detract from an authentic celebration of life. An overabundance of pictures, statues, and other items are not conducive to a celebration of the Liturgy. No unplanned or unapproved changes should be implemented the day of the Funeral Liturgy.

Our lay ministers, volunteers, and priests and staff labor diligently to provide family members and friends a beautiful and sacred Liturgy. Disruptions and interruptions occur in this life, and we realize and appreciate that plans change. And also, these should be the exception to the rule, not the rule of thumb. Any changes either planned or unplanned should be requested and discussed with the bereavement minister whose duty it is to consult the priest.