Rites of Christian Burials – Funerals

If you are visiting this page due to the loss of a loved one, please accept our sincere condolences. The clergy and staff of St. Francis de Sales are here to support and pray for you at this time.

The following information will assist you in the preparation of the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Francis de Sales.

Below you will find the selections of Sacred Scripture for your consideration and a form to complete that will help us as we prepare for the upcoming liturgy. Please call the parish office at (401) 884-2105 with any questions.

The Order of Christian Burial

All the baptized are entitled to the full Rite of Christian Burial. You and your family will experience the Rite of Christian Burial in three distinct and important parts:

+ The Wake Service

The Vigil Service usually takes place during the period of visitation and viewing at the funeral home. It is a time to remember the life of the deceased and to commend him/her to God. In prayer we ask God to console us in our grief and give us strength to support one another.

The Vigil Service can take the form of a Service of the Word with readings from Sacred Scripture accompanied by reflection and prayers. It can also take the form of one of the prayers of the Office for the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours. The clergy and your funeral director can assist in planning such service.

It is most appropriate, when family and friends are gathered together for visitation, to offer time for recalling the life of the deceased. For this reason, eulogies are usually encouraged to be done at the funeral home during visitation or at the Vigil Service.

+ The Mass of Christian Burial

The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration of the Christian community for the deceased. When one of its members dies, the Church encourages the celebration of the funeral liturgy at a Mass. When Mass cannot be celebrated, a funeral liturgy outside Mass can be celebrated at the church or in the funeral home.

At the funeral liturgy, the Church gathers with the family and friends of the deceased to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery. The funeral liturgy, therefore, is an act of worship, and not merely an expression of grief.

+ The Committal

The Rite of Committal, the conclusion of the funeral rite, is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. It should normally be celebrated at the place of committal, that is, beside the open grave or place of interment. In committing the body to its resting place, the community expresses the hope that, with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer, but see God face-to-face.

*From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Scripture Readings

When choosing the Scripture readings, there may be one reading from the Old Testament, and one reading from the New Testament. There is also the option to choose only one reading. You can choose from the whole Bible, the texts linked below are especially appropriate.

Sacred Music

Please be aware that only Sacred Music may be used at a Funeral Mass.  As liturgical music magnifies the spoken word, music is a beautiful offering within the Mass of Christian Burial.  Music brings comfort and peace to the loved ones attending the funeral.

It is not incumbent upon the loved ones of the deceased to choose music for the liturgy.  If no particular music is requested, the parish will choose appropriate music based on the liturgical season, readings, and theme for the liturgy.  Sometimes a particular hymn, perhaps a favorite of the deceased, will be requested.