Book of the Deceased

We received our new book of the deceased today. We had been purchasing blank books from publishers. A bequest from a parishioner funded this initiative. The book came in a nice box from our bookbinder, Peggy Johnston:

book of deceased box

Unfold the box, and a wood cover embossed with a cross suggestive of the one at the bottom of our baptismal pool:

book of deceased

Peggy did a marvelous job on the covers and the binding.

The first page is a watercolor and citation of 2 Timothy 11b-12a from the Funeral Lectionary:

book of deceased front page

A local calligrapher and painter, Dot Prater, did wonderful work on this. She also worked on a “test” copy of the Scripture text with a different background which we liked so much we plan to frame it and then figure out a placement in the building.

People sign names of deceased loved ones and friends on gray pages:

book of deceased sign page

The committee was super-pleased with the result. The only problem is that this book far outshines our Lectionaries and Gospel Book. One of our committee members noted that we could extract the pages, still in good shape, and have them rebound. Maybe with nice wooden covers.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Book of the Deceased

  1. Katherine says:

    Lovely! Some questions:
    what are the dimensions of the book?
    are the inside grey pages lined?
    I don’t see binding on the spine — can the book be take apart and more pages added?
    how/where will you display it?
    will names be transferred from the old books to the new one?

    I am of two minds about wooden covers for a Lectionary or Gospel book. Potential for nice artwork, but also potentially quite heavy, especially for the larger Lectionary, making the books harder to handle, especially for smaller or frailer people. What about leather tooling/embossing? Or, an alternative to rebinding, fabric art/needlework covers?

  2. Todd says:

    Dimensions are about 11 by 15 inches. Pages not lined. No binding on the spine. Potentially, the binding could be deconstructed and pages added. But we talked about the proportions with the artist, including its thickness. Our desire is to have a book for about 15 years of “active” use. I don’t think we’ll add pages. But I might not be here in 2030 when we project to need a new book or new pages. A discernment for another day.

    It will be on a wooden stand, covered with a white cloth and purple strip next to the font and Easter Candle, which we light in November.

    No transfer of names. Still pondering where and how to house the old books, of which we have two.

    We might convene another subcommittee on the three Sunday Lectionaries and Gospel Book.

  3. Jim McCrea says:

    My parish has a scroll that was begun with the parish started doing funerals for people dying of AIDS and HIV. It was done by one person who was a calligraphist and has about 350 names. Unfortunately the calligraphist also died, so the scroll stopped.

    It is rolled up by about 6 feet in a prominent place in the sanctuary during the month of November. We have to be careful as it is starting to show signs of age and use, but it is as much a part of the parish as is the crucifix.

    During the other 11 months it is rolled up and ensconced in the same niche as are the blessed oils.

  4. Jim McCrea says:

    Rolled out by about 6 feet, not rolled up.

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