OCF 46: Funeral Liturgy

Two forms of the “funeral liturgy” are possible:

46. The section entitled “Funeral Liturgy” provides two forms of the funeral liturgy, the central celebration of the Christian community for the deceased: “Funeral Mass” and Funeral Liturgy outside Mass.” When one of its members dies, the Church especially encourages the celebration of the Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated (see OCF 178), the second form of the funeral liturgy may be used and a Mass for the deceased should be celebrated, if possible, at a later time.

My sense of this instruction is that there be more than a Mass intention at a later time.

As for the three instances when a funeral Mass cannot be celebrated, you know they are (1) liturgical (another observance takes priority) or (2) when a priest is unavailable, or (3) when pastor and family judge a Mass is less suitable.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to OCF 46: Funeral Liturgy

  1. Liam says:

    Yes, it would seem that a Mass for the Dead is what is envisioned, which is more than a mere intention. The Funeral Mass is simply the principal ritual form of the broader category of Masses for the Dead.

    From the GIRM:

    380. Among the Masses for the Dead, the Funeral Mass holds first place. It may be celebrated on any day except for Solemnities that are holy days of obligation, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, with due regard also for all the other requirements of the norm of the law.146

    381. A Mass for the Dead may be celebrated on receiving the news of a death, for the final burial, or the first anniversary, even on days within the Octave of Christmas, on obligatory Memorials, and on weekdays, except for Ash Wednesday or weekdays during Holy Week.

    Other Masses for the Dead, that is, “daily” Masses, may be celebrated on weekdays in Ordinary Time on which optional memorials occur or when the Office is of the weekday, provided such Masses are actually applied for the dead.

    382. At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind. [Liam notes: I believe this is intended to require a homily at the Funeral Mass but not necessarily at other Masses for the Dead - rather than permit eulogies at the latter!]

    383. The faithful, and especially the family of the deceased, should be urged to participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice offered for the deceased person also by receiving Holy Communion.

    384. [applies only to Funeral Masses]

    385. In the arranging and choosing of the variable parts of the Mass for the Dead, especially the Funeral Mass (e.g., orations, readings, Prayer of the Faithful), pastoral considerations bearing upon the deceased, the family, and those attending should rightly be taken into account.

    Pastors should, moreover, take into special account those who are present at a liturgical celebration or who hear the Gospel on the occasion of the funeral and who may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or rarely participate in the Eucharist or who seem even to have lost the faith. For priests are ministers of Christ’s Gospel for all.

  2. FrMichael says:

    … or reason #4 for the lack of a Funeral Mass: the funeral home has swindled the family into not having one, but rather has steered the family into having a (more lucrative) service at the mortuary’s own chapel.

    FrMichael

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