OCF 62-63: Vigil, Intercessions and Conclusion

After the homily, the vigil draws to a conclusion. I might say “quick,” but there is provision for a sharing in remembrance of the departed person. Otherwise, just three items:

62. In the prayers of intercession the community calls upon God to comfort the mourners and to show mercy to the deceased. The prayer of intercession takes the form of a litany, the Lord’s Prayer, and a concluding prayer.

This is a sound recognition that intercessory prayer takes many forms within the Catholic liturgy, and here particularly, the funeral rites. The “litany” mentioned here is either a list of intercessions, either similar to what we experience at Mass, or it could also be more acclamatory of Christ–more similar to a troped Kyrie or Agnus Dei.

After this prayer and before the blessing or at some other suitable time during the vigil, a member of the family or a friend of the deceased may speak in remembrance of the deceased.

This “eulogy,” if you will: interesting, isn’t it? The rite presumes one person speaks. My experience is that it is often a few to several. Note the ideal placement of this “remembrance” is not within the larger structure of prayer, but after the concluding prayer, and before the final blessing. With typical Roman practicality, another “suitable” time may be chosen for this remembrance. In my experience, it either replaces a homily or takes place after it. That seems suitable in most American settings.

63. The vigil concludes with a blessing, which may be followed by a liturgical song or a few moments of silent prayer or both.

Straightforward, but I’ll mention something a bit off topic from funerals: namely, the “creep” of the concluding song into the Church’s rites. We saw it given as an option in many RCIA rites. At the vigil, it “may” be done; and the American practice is usually that it is, if music is included at the vigil in any way.

Silent prayer between a final blessing and song strikes me as awkward. I think there are more natural times for silence: before presidential prayers, in between the readings, at the end of the homily, at the conclusion of personal sharing. But the overall emphasis on silence as an important part of liturgy is a welcome post-conciliar development, even if not always utilized or trusted.


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.

2 Responses to OCF 62-63: Vigil, Intercessions and Conclusion

  1. FrMichael says:

    The placement of the eulogy and testimonies is completely at the whim of the presider. No theology is involved. If he wants to stay, it is integral within the rite. If he wants (or needs) to go, then it is before or afterward.

    Personally, unless I have another Vigil that night, I like to stay and listen. Therefore I fit these remarks into the place envisioned by the rite.

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