The Catholic Funeral...
The Catholic wake, funeral Mass, and committal service set us on a path to true healing, wholeness, peace, and eternal life. Father Noesen, the parish staff, and parishioners at St. Peter the Apostle Parish are prepared to offer assistance as you face the death of a loved one. At the time of death, family members and friends often feel overwhelmed with the details related to the funeral. Know that we are ready to organize and provide for all of your funeral arrangements.
The first thing to do is contact the funeral home of your choice to begin making arrangements. The funeral home staff will then contact the parish to coordinate the arrangements. Saint Peter the Apostle Church follows the Rite of Christian Burial. It is the responsibility of the parish to bury their dead. Funerals are on Mondays through Saturdays and are ordinarily celebrated at 10:00 am. According to Diocesan policy, if family members wish to offer eulogies, they should do so during the wake. The General Instruction for the Universal Church #382 states: “At the funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy.” Please keep in mind that the Mass is the Mass, and a eulogy does not belong at that sacred time. Besides the wake, families have more appropriate places and opportunities to offer eulogies such as at the burial, and/or meal or gathering after the funeral. These times and places are more appropriate opportunities for family and friends to share what are mostly secular and personal remembrances of their loved one. Additionally, more time is then available for more than one presenter. Saint Peter the Apostle Parish will adhere to this instruction.
Wake: A vigil gathering of the faithful with family and parishioners which usually takes place the day before the funeral Mass. This is ordinarily held at the funeral home or can be held at the parish hall the morning before the funeral. A service of prayers for the deceased is offered by the pastor and/or one of our deacons. This service is a way to share our faith and give hope and comfort to grieving families and friends. It is the best opportunity to memorialize or remember a person’s life. The wake is the most proper time to share stories, give eulogies, and honor the deceased person’s life.
Funeral Mass: Celebrating the funeral liturgy in the parish church is the most important way to honor the deceased from baptism to death. This is the center of the funeral rites. Being an act of official worship of the Catholic Church, the funeral liturgy is carefully crafted and celebrated. It is a serious moment and the greatest prayer in which we pray for the soul of our beloved dead, ask for God’s merciful judgment and commend our beloved dead to the Lord. In keeping the sacred nature of the Mass, the Church discourages outside elements during the funeral Mass. Therefore, it is suggested that any personal desires be done at the wake and/or committal service. Being a public act of worship, dignity of the Mass (“praying as the Church prays”) will lead, ultimately, to a much more meaningful and dignified funeral for those we love. Whether or not the deceased or grieving family of the deceased attend Mass on a regular basis, the funeral Mass is the most important, traditional, and proper way to bury the dead. A memorial Mass can also be arranged should a family postpone immediate arrangements.
Committal Service: Held at the cemetery after the funeral Mass, the committal is the final ritual moment to say “farewell” to a loved one. At either the graveside or cemetery chapel, this is another appropriate moment for personal reflections, remembrances, and eulogies. Again, the priest or one of our deacons will accompany the family in prayer at the cemetery.
Choosing a cemetery and cremation: Catholics should seek to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Cremation is an allowed option for Catholics. However, cremains should be buried and not kept or scattered. Catholics buried in non-Catholic cemeteries should, at the time of burial, have the grave blessed by a priest or deacon. The Catholic Cemetery office of the Diocese of Joliet can assist you with selecting a cemetery that guarantees perpetual care for your loved one’s body. The diocese is now offering two new locations:
Holy Family Cemetery, Mausoleum & Columbaria
2501 W Hobson Rd Downers Grove
St. Mary Cemetery & Columbarium
310 Alexander Blvd, Elmhurst
To find other Catholic cemeteries and mausoleums within the boundaries of the diocese call 630-984-4802 or go online to DioceseofJoliet.org.
Saint Peter the Apostle Parish is here to support you during this time of sadness and need. The Church is a place of great consolation to those who continue their journey without loved ones. Be assured of our prayers in your time of loss. Let us share in the hope in Christ Jesus who is our way, our truth, and our life — the way that leads to the happiness of our Father’s house in heaven!