Funeral Rites

In 2010, we took an extended look at the Order of Christian Funerals (OCF). The entire ritual book, its 438 numbered sections, underwent scrutiny and discussion in an attempt to understand the Church’s outlook on the funeral, and the various rituals that accompany the dead and the mourners on their way to eternal life.

On this page, you will find the contents of the OCF book ordered with headings for an easier review. As always, comments are welcome here. Even for old posts.

We began with a quick background post.

Then the general introduction (OCF 1-49) begins with the basics of theology:

Next, the introduction examines the ministries of the funeral rites and the ways in which the faithful participate in them (8-15)

Two brief sections on the mourners (16-17):

Three on the deceased (18-20):

The funeral liturgies (21-49) address in brief various aspects of liturgical celebrations. First some texts:

Then music:

… and other aspects of the liturgies:

We have a brief introduction to the main three funeral rites:

  1. Vigil and Related Rites (OCF 45)
  2. Funeral Liturgy (OCF 46)
  3. Rite of Committal (OCF 47)

OCF Part I, Funeral Rites (OCF 50)

OCF 51 through 127 covers two options for the Vigil and related rites that take place before the funeral. We’ll start with the introductory section that describes and explains the structure and ministries of the Vigil:

The Vigil itself:

And there is the option for having the Vigil at the Church. If this is done, there is the ritual for the reception of the Body which takes place not at the funeral, but when the body arrives:

Vigil with Reception at the Church (OCF 82-97)

Other prayer options between death and the funeral, starting with a brief introduction to these three:

Related Rites and Prayers (OCF 98-100)

An introduction to Prayers after Death:

A sample ritual:

A gathering time for loved ones:

And the transfer of the body to the church or to the place of committal:

There is a longish introduction to the two forms of the funeral, covering OCF 128-153.

The texts and rubrics of the funeral Mass (form 1):

And highlighting the funeral liturgy outside of Mass (form 2), where it deviates from the funeral Mass

The Rite of Committal is covered in the following posts, starting with OCF 204 through 215 which forms an introduction to this rite:

And then we have the Committal Rite itself, the two options, 216 through 233:

OCF, Part II, Funeral Rites for Children (OCF 234)

The following sections, 235-342, deal with the situations of a funeral of a child. We mainly look at how these vary from the adult rite (51-233). Naturally, the basic structure remains the same, as do many aspects of the ritual.

First, an introductory segment (OCF 235-242)

The Vigil

The Funeral


Part III of the Order of Christian Funerals addresses the Scriptures used in the various rites and prayers

Part IV (348-396) treats the Liturgy of the Hours and how this is prayed by a community at the time of the death of one of its own. The term used by the Church and the OCF is “Office for the Dead.”

Part V (397-410) gives additional texts for various rites and needs

The Church addresses cremation and how this impacts the rites and their wording and practice:

Hopefully interested people will find these pages helpful in the study of the funeral rites, or in planning. For any personal consultation, feel free to contact me through my parish.

8 Responses to Funeral Rites

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