The vigil may be celebrated at a church. If so, the rite presumes the body will be received with more ritual. In other locations, the vigil is quite simple with four elements: greeting, opening song, invitation to prayer, followed by the prayer. For a vigil at a church, the outline reads:
Sprinkling with Holy Water
Placing of the Pall (optional)
Placing of Christian Symbols (optional)
Invitation to Prayer
The sprinkling with holy water (OCF 83) may be done by a lay presider.
Placing the pall (OCF 84, 86) is included “if it is the custom.” The Christian symbol may be “a Book of the Gospels, a Bible, or a cross” and may accompany the procession. The rite offers the option of placing this symbol in silence (which might seem the usual custom), though texts to accompany this action are given much later in the ritual (OCF 400).
A “psalm, song, or responsory” accompanies the entrance procession (OCF 85). OCF 403 is referenced and interestingly, these are alternate texts of the Song of Farewell, to which we will devote a bit of attention when we get to the conclusion of the funeral liturgy. Using a Song of Farewell at the vigil’s entrance into the church and at the conclusion of the funeral liturgy provides for either an expanded repertoire of these strong pieces, or the chance to “bookend” the time the body is at the parish church.
Otherwise, the outline of the vigil is the same: Liturgy of the Word and Concluding Rites.