OCF 54-55: The Vigil

The next fifteen sections are an introduction to the “Vigil for the Deceased.” 54-56 cover the what, where, and when. 57-63 provide “structure and content.” 64-68 “ministry and participation.”

Let’s take a double dip today and catch up from my break:

54. The vigil for the deceased is the principal rite celebrated by the Christian community in the time following death and before the funeral liturgy, or if there is no funeral liturgy, before the rite of committal. It may take the form either of a liturgy of the word (nos, 69-81, 82-97) or of some part of the office for the dead (see Part IV). Two vigil services are provided: “Vigil for the Deceased” and “Vigil for the DEceased with Reception at the Church.” The second service is used when the vigil is celebrated in the church and begins with the reception of the body.

Some practical considerations:

55. The vigil may be celebrated in the home of the deceased, in the funeral home, parlor, or chapel of rest, or in some suitable place.  It may also be celebrated in the church, but at a time well before the funeral liturgy, so that the funeral liturgy will not be lengthy and the liturgy of the word repetitious.  Adaptations of the vigil will often be suggested by the place in which the celebration occurs. A celebration in the home of the deceased, for example, may be simplified and shortened.

If the reception of the body at church is celebrated apart from the vigil or the funeral liturgy, the “Vigil for the DEceased with Reception at the Church” may be used and simplified.

OCF 54 repeats what we’ve read earlier in OCF 45 and 51. And you recall we also discussed that the Vigil may be either a Word service or a part of the Office of the Dead (OCF 45). Local custom (OCF 50) dictates the choice here, though I suspect that for a lay person a word service is almost always utilized. My experience with the vigil for a deceased priest is far more limited, but I’ve never personally experienced Vespers or another hour of the Office used for clergy. I presume religious c0mmunities employ the Office for the Dead, but then again, I could be mistaken.

The prescriptions for adaptation are governed not by the minister’s choice, but by the setting of the vigil, and the common sense of the overall flow of the various funeral rites.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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