The OCF devotes four sections to “Ministry and Participation” in the funeral liturgy. Let’s look at the first today.
Active participation is surprisingly controversial today–I can’t fathom why, really. Especially when the Church’s documentation and reasoning on it can be accessed so easily. The formatting below is mine:
150. Because the funeral liturgy is the central celebration for the deceased, it should be scheduled for a time that permits as many of the Christian community as possible to be present. The full and active participation of the assembly …
- affirms the value of praying for the dead,
- gives strength and support to the bereaved,
- and is a sure sign of faith and hope in the paschal mystery.
Every effort, therefore, should be made by the various liturgical ministers to encourage active participation of the family and of the entire assembly.
It’s too bad this underlying principle of active participation is buried in the Order of Christian Funerals. Active participation, according to the Church, affirms the purpose of the liturgical gathering, is pastorally supportive to others in the faith community, and reflects faith and hope in Jesus Christ. Cultivating active participation is worth “every effort,” the Church tells us. And if this is true for the funeral rites, it’s certainly true for the Sunday Eucharist.