OCF 211-212: Adaptations for Committal

There are circumstances in which a pastor or pastoral minister would want to have flexibility in serving the family and parish. The following two sections detail some of the possibilities.

211. If there is a pastoral need for a longer committal rite than those provided here, for example, when the funeral liturgy has been celebrated on a previous day or in a different community, the minister may use the appropriate form of the committal rite and adapt it, for example, by adding a greeting, song, one or more readings, a psalm, and a brief homily. When there has been no funeral liturgy prior to the committal rite, the “Rite of Committal with Final Commendation” may be used and similarly adapted.

212. The rite of committal may be celebrated in circumstances in which the final disposition of the body will not take place for some time, for example, when winter delays burial or when ashes are to be interred at some time after cremation. The rite of committal may then be repeated on the later occasion when the actual burial or interment takes place. On the second occasion the rite may include a longer Scripture reading as well as a homily.

In case of a body donated to science, the rite of committal may be celebrated whenever interment takes place.

This all seems fairly clear. Whatever choices the pastor or minister make need not be locked in to a slavish following of the funeral rites. These rituals are intended to be a liturgical expression of a pastoral reality. If circumstances indicate a richer liturgy at interment is called for, it can include intelligent and thoughtful additions in keeping with the patterns of ritual, especially an enhanced proclamation of the Word.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, 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.

5 Responses to OCF 211-212: Adaptations for Committal

  1. Liam says:


    Thank you for your perseverance in this item-by-item review of the OCF. I know it doesn’t garner the commentary and snark of the posts devoted to what might be called “current events.” But your thoughtful layout, item by item, with the opportunity for questions and commentary, will be a valuable pastoral resource for much longer in the future. Some items are less unclear than others, but it’s the comprehension that is most valuable.

    Again, many thanks.

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks, Liam.

    Let me point out one bit on these. The rite gives the option for a psalm at an expanded liturgy of the word. But my sense would be that if a musician isn’t present to lead it (or even sing it as a solo) it might be better to offer a brief reading and a short homily.

    If music were important to the community or family, I would think a pastor would make that provision. As a music director, it’s been a rare occasion I’ve been asked to accompany to the cemetery or columbarium. But I wouldn’t hesitate in providing music ministry if asked. I suspect many of my colleagues in the church would agree.

    • Liam says:

      Yes. It’s also good that the ritual text speaks for itself in triaging the urge to be scrupulous in Doing the X and Reading the Y. It’s a small, but helpful and important, textual point that shows thoughtfulness on the part of the drafters of the ritual.

  3. Anne says:

    I second what Liam says. Keeping these commentaries and occasional discussion regarding the OCF in your blog archive is a valuable resource.

  4. FrMichael says:

    Not much commenting, but much reading on my part for the OCF. Thanks for the review.

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