We know losing a loved one is not easy. Here is what to expect when someone you care for passes away.
Contact the nearest Catholic parish as soon as possible after you have handed over care of your deceased loved one to a funeral services professional. Ask to speak to the pastor and bereavement minster. They will guide you and your family through the opportunities and decisions that will allow you to provide a Catholic burial that best meets your wishes and resources.
If the experience with funeral services professionals is new or unfamiliar to you, you may wish to visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information online.
The Funeral Rites
Catholic Funeral Rites can help you find peace and healing throughout this journey. Three separate rites comprise our Catholic Funeral Rites: The Vigil (The Wake), The Liturgy (The Mass), and The Committal (The Burial). Each rite serves a distinct purpose to assist you on the path to healing. Each rite can be personalized to some degree to impart a deeper meaning relevant to the life of the deceased and to those who mourn the loss of their loved one and friend. We celebrate the rites to give worship and praise to God for the gift of life.
“Our Catholic beliefs teach us the body of a deceased Catholic Christian is in Christ a temple of the Holy Spirit and is destined for future glory at the resurrection of the dead and better expresses the values professed during our Funeral Rites and is preferred to be present during the Vigil and Funeral Liturgy,” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 412, 413). When circumstances require, however, cremated remains may be present for the performance of all Catholic Funeral Rites.
Following the Funeral
After the funeral, the body or cremated remains are transported to the cemetery for the Committal Rite. “Cemeteries call to mind the resurrection of the dead and are the focus for the Church’s remembering of the dead and offering of prayer for them,” (Order of Christian Funerals, no. 416). Catholic Christians are to be buried in sacred ground. During the Committal Rite, the celebrant has the opportunity to bless the burial space if it had not been blessed previously.
Continuing To Heal
Keep in mind grief is not a sign of weakness, rather it is part of the natural process of letting go and preparing for what will come. Those experiencing the loss of a loved one for the first time are faced with the reality that the grieving process takes a long time and cannot be rushed.
Seek out the counsel and support of your pastor and those who journey with you in your faith life. Seek strength and healing through prayer to our Father who has an infinite capacity of love for us.
Consider participating in bereavement support groups in your parish and/or your surrounding community. You may have to push through your pain to do so. Sharing your story with others and learning from theirs could be a great help. Also, seek out spiritual related resources available in multiple media platforms.
Please do not go through this tough time alone. We are here. For additional guidance, contact Catholic Cemeteries of Central Florida at (407) 246-4919.