“We would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
If you have experienced the death of a loved one, we, the pastoral staff at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, would like to express our sincere sympathies to you and your family. Our Catholic faith teaches us, through the resurrection of Jesus, to mourn with great hope. Still, grieving the death of a loved one is a traumatic experience that takes time and must be fully processed. When we grieve, no one can understand the depth of our loss, but please know that you are not alone. We are here to help you prepare for the next few days leading up to the funeral liturgy, as well as support you as your mourn in the weeks and months ahead.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Please contact the Parish Office when a death occurs. When the parish office is closed, please follow phone prompts for an emergency. You will be routed to the emergency voice mailbox. The facilities coordinator will help schedule funerals based on availability of facilities and clergy. If using a funeral home/director, the funeral home should also be contacted after news of death.
Funeral planning typically takes place during a meeting between the priest or deacon who will be presiding over the funeral rites and family members of the deceased. If a funeral home is involved, they will assist the family in arranging this meeting. If a funeral home is not involved, the family should contact the Parish Office to schedule a meeting to make the necessary arrangements. No funeral planning is finalized until after a meeting with the presider of the funeral.
Sacred music has an integral role in the funeral rites. Funeral music should express the Paschal Mystery and the Christian’s share in it. Since music can evoke strong feelings, it should be chosen with care.
Mass or Liturgy without Mass?
The standard liturgy for a deceased Catholic who was in good standing with the Church is a Mass, with the body present. A Mass should always be the presumed format. If there is question about whether a liturgy without Mass might be more appropriate, the presider should speak to the family. In a case where the deceased is not a practicing Catholic, or lived a life publicly contradicting Catholic beliefs and practice, a liturgy without a Mass might be more appropriate.
A Child who has died before Baptism
A Mass can always be celebrated for a child who has died, even without baptism. Appropriate prayers are used if the child was not baptized.
The grieving process necessarily includes time to remember the life of the deceased loved one. In the Catholic funeral rite, this is most appropriately done during the time of visitation, at lunch, or even at the Vigil (Wake) Service. Since the Funeral Mass is primarily the time for praise and thanks for God's gift of eternal life in Jesus, we discourage the inclusion of a eulogy at the Mass. Therefore, please be sure to plan for eulogies at the Vigil (Wake) Service.
Memorials may be directed to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church or St. Mary's Catholic School. There are many projects for the family to consider with a wide range in value.
In 1997 the Vatican granted permission for funeral Masses to be celebrated with the cremated remains of an individual at the discretion of each diocesan bishop. Though allowing Catholics to choose cremation, the Catholic Church “clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites” (Order of Christian Burial appendix II). In addition to fully expressing the Church’s belief in the resurrection of the body, the presence of the body at the funeral allows the friends and family of the deceased to enter into the grieving process in a way that is substantively different than with the cremated remains. Therefore, those opting to have cremation are strongly encouraged to have the body of the deceased present at the funeral, with cremation and burial to follow in the next couple of days.
By civil and Church law, cremated remains cannot be spread or buried in any place other than a designated cemetery or columbarium. Therefore, prior to funeral services being held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, arrangements must be made for the burial of the cremated remains.
Words about Grief and Mourning
Simply stated, grief is your reaction to the death of your loved one. It consists of the internal thoughts and emotions you may have at any given time. Common emotions are guilt, anger, and sadness. The grief reaction is very different for everyone–no two hearts ache in the same way. And despite what you may have been told, there are no stages of grief, meaning there is no “common path.” There is only your path.
Mourning is the outward expression of your internal grief. It is your proactive response. Mourning is not passive, rather it consists of the many ways you can express your grief. And in expressing your grief, you begin to heal. Your life will never be the same, but gradually, as you mourn the loss of your loved one, you begin to move forward into a new and different life.