Office for the Dead: Evening Prayer Conclusion

After Canticle of Mary and intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer is offered after an introduction by the minister (OCF 393). The given words are from a penitential and funeral psalm, the 130th:

With God there is mercy and fullness of redemption; let us pray as Jesus taught us:

The usual “in other words” option is also in the rubric.

A concluding prayer is offered from one of three choices in OCF 394, or one of the forty-seven (!) options given in OCF 398. It is after this prayer that words of remembrance are endorsed:

A member of the family or a friend of the deceased may speak in remembrance of the deceased. 

In OCF 395, the dismissal includes a simple blessing for a cleric and an option for a lay leader of prayer.

Some observations and comments:

  • There is nothing wild or unusual about these final rituals. They reflect the expectations of either the Divine Office or a liturgy of the Word which may be more familiar to most lay people.
  • The naming of what most people term a eulogy is illustrative; it is described as a remembrance of the deceased. In my current parish, “words of remembrance” is how this is described.
  • The placement here seems optimal, though for more personal sharing, a smaller and more intimate setting may be better. Eulogies get bashed, and over the years, I’ve come to recognize the importance of sparking memory less from videos and photos, and more from the impressions of the mourners. I don’t see this as some kind of public appeal to God to let someone into heaven for good behavior. It seems more like a reassurance for those left behind. I think we have hope for the dead. I think that hope can be reasonable in most cases.

Thoughts?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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