Rite of Christian Burial

Our Deepest Sympathy…

The pastor, the parish staff, and the parishioners of Saint Patrick Parish offer our prayerful support especially at this time of your loss. We want you to know that in the days and months ahead we are willing to be of whatever help we might be to you. We are also aware that we cannot remove your pain, but we hope to be able to assist you in whatever way possible as you attempt to find God’s loving presence even in the midst of suffering.  Please call Fr. Trask at 440.987.9873 or the parish office at 440.647.4375 x0.  

Some Pastoral Considerations

The Catholic Church celebrates the Rites of Christian Burial chiefly for two reasons (as given in The Order of Christian Funerals, article four):

“The Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased” and
“The Church ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them with the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

Responding to this directive of the universal Church, Saint Patrick Parish takes seriously its responsibility to minister to those who have died and to their families and loved ones. We do so in several ways, most notably, in the way we celebrate the liturgical rites provided for the deceased. Saint Patrick Parish celebrates the Rites of Christian Burial for all those who seek them. While it is expected that the Rite of Christian Burial be celebrated for baptized Catholics, the Catholic Church also permits the rites to be celebrated for unbaptized children (of Catholic families) as well as baptized members of non-Catholic communities of faith. While the Catholic Church continues to encourage the ancient custom of burying the dead, cremation is permitted.  Please note that it is the Church’s expectation that out of respect for the remains of the deceased, the ashes of cremated persons should be buried or entombed.  

The Rite of Christian Burial provides for a variety of prayerful celebrations. While the traditional practice is the celebration of a funeral Mass, circumstances may dictate a preference for a service of Scripture and prayer in the funeral home (and/or at the cemetery). This might be appropriate where the family or loved ones are not of the Catholic faith, or where the deceased has never been an active Catholic. If there are questions regarding this matter, the pastoral staff would be happy to discuss them with the family.  

Some Parish Guidelines

We welcome the presence of other priests as concelebrants at funeral Masses. If the family requests another priest to conduct the entire funeral, the family should contact the priest, verify his availability, and ask him to contact Fr. Trask to confirm his willingness to celebrate the Rite of Christian Burial at Saint Patrick Parish. Unless we hear from the priest we will not assume his presence.  (Additionally, if the desired priest is not a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, it will be necessary for him to obtain a Letter of Suitability from his Diocese in order to obtain faculties [eg. permission] to celebrate Mass in the Diocese of Cleveland.)

Normally the clergy of Saint Patrick Parish do not conduct any type of concluding service in the funeral home immediately before the body is brought to the church for the funeral. If a flag covers the casket when it is brought to the church, it will be removed so that the funeral pall (large white cloth) may be placed upon the casket.   If the family wishes, funeral flowers may be brought to the church for the funeral and left there following the funeral as a memorial to the deceased (usually this is limited to two baskets or arrangements). During Lent and Advent when the churches are not decorated with flowers; they will be removed following the funeral.   For nearby burials, a member of the Parish Staff will accompany the remains and the family to the cemetery, where the Rite of Christian Burial will conclude with the prayers of Committal and Final Commendation.   Should one wish to speak in memory of the deceased, as in a eulogy, the Funeral Rite allows for such to take place just prior to the Prayer of Commendation that will be prayed at the cemetery.  

Parish Funeral Procedures

Phone calls regarding funerals are accepted at any time. Contact with Saint Patrick Parish should be made by phoning Fr. Trask (440.987.9873) or the parish office  (440.647.4375 x0).   Families may participate in Funeral Masses at Saint Patrick Parish in the following ways (all of which are optional):

• Selecting the scriptural readings, petitions, and hymnody used at the Funeral Mass
• Placing the pall (white cloth) over the casket at the beginning of the liturgy
• Reading the scripture readings, as well as the petitions
• Being part of the offertory procession with the gifts (two gifts – though more than 2 people may participate in the procession)

Fr. Trask prefers to meet with family members to share stories about the deceased; he finds this quite helpful as he seeks to assemble his funeral homily.  Although the homily is not an eulogy, nor does the church  intend it to be such, this story telling offers Fr. Trask some insights into how the deceased responded and lived according to the call of God.   Any family members wishing to participate in this story-telling are welcome to meet with Fr. Trask at the rectory.   In addition to sharing stories about the deceased, Fr. Trask will also take the opportunity to talk about the selection of scriptures and hymns (the points which follow) and may offer some suggestions on appropriate passages – given the stories that have been shared.

Scriptural Readings for Funerals

Only  Scriptural readings from the Revised Translation of the New American Bible may be selected for use at a funeral Mass.  Suggested readings will be provided.  No readings from secular sources may be used. You may choose one Old Testament and one New Testament reading . You may also elect to have proclaimed only one reading (Old or New Testament).  You may download a PDF booklet from which to choose the scriptural passages, petitions, and songs by clicking here.  Your selections of readings, petitions, and hymnody should be returned to Fr. Trask at your earliest convenience – by dropping them by the parish office or sending them to him via email at   Those selected to read the Sacred Scripture at a funeral should be appropriately dressed and able to read in a manner which can be understood by all in the congregation.  Aware that many family members are grieving and would find it difficult to proclaim the scriptures with dignity, several members of the St. Patrick Parish Community have made it their ministry to be available to proclaim the scriptures at funerals.  Should you wish one of these parishioners to proclaim the scriptures at the funeral of a loved one, please indicate such to Fr. Trask.

Please note that, because the Psalm Response is ordinarily a sung response, the organist/cantor will usually sing it following the first scriptural reading.

Hymnody for Funerals  

St. Patrick Parish will provide an organist and cantor for the funeral liturgy at the church.  Family members are welcome to request specific Sacred Hymns or Music.   Because liturgy is the live praise of God, recordings are never appropriate with Mass/prayer at the Church.  Additionally, secular music is not appropriate or permitted with Mass or prayer at the Church.  Recordings, however, may be played at the funeral home or at the cemetery; when played at the cemetery, they may be played as people gather at the graveside or just prior to the Prayer of Commendation.

Guidelines for the Reception of Communion in Catholic Churches (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – usccb.org)

For Catholics:
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive holy communion. We are encouraged to receive communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason when there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition including the intention of confession as soon as possible.  
For Fellow Christians: 

We welcome our fellow Christians to the celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us close to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions that separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires the permission of the diocesan bishop.  
For Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church: 

They are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, canon law does not object to their reception of communion.
For Those Not Receiving Holy Communion
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayer for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.   For Non-Christians:
We also welcome to the celebration of the Eucharist those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and unity of the human family.