For the next few weeks, we’ll cover the introduction section (OCF 128-153) to the funeral liturgy. I hope these posts will be instructive on the core celebration of the worshiping community for the deceased.
128. The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. Two forms of the funeral liturgy are presented here: “Funeral Mass” and “Funeral Liturgy outside Mass.”
When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the Mass. But when Mass cannot be celebrated (see OCF 178), the second form of the funeral liturgy is used. When the funeral liturgy is celebrated outside Mass before the committal, a Mass for the deceased should be scheduled, if possible, for the family and friends at a convenient time after the funeral.
When might a Mass not be celebrated? During the Triduum, and on Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter. When a priest is unavailable. For pastoral reasons, the family and clergy may decide a funeral Mass is a poorer choice. Even if no funeral Mass is celebrated, this liturgy is still the “central liturgical celebration” for the community. And a Mass at a later time remains important.