(last updated in 2017)
Death is an inevitable part of life and though our faith paints for us a picture of hope, for those left behind it is often a struggle that seems insurmountable. Your family of faith at Christ the King is here to provide the support and prayers you need to get through these difficult times. If at all possible it is extremely beneficial if the family has kept in close contact with the parish in the days and weeks leading up to a loved one’s passing. This is often made possible through frequent visits (for Anointing of the Sick or company and consolation) between the person who is ill, their family and Father Steve. When death occurs, whether it is an event you have been prepared for or something more sudden, we highly recommend that you contact Father Steve immediately. Funeral arrangements are usually made as a joint effort between the family, their priest, and the funeral directors.
Funeral Luncheons are provided for a small fee (covering only the cost of food etc.) by the CWL of Christ the King. Music for the funeral mass can be provided by our Resurrection choir if the family so wishes.
From time to time parishioners have asked us about the proper directives given by the Church in regards to funerals. Recently, Bishop LeGatt offered directives for the parishes of the Saskatoon Diocese. He mentioned that the central message in the Catholic Funeral liturgy is to give praise and thanksgiving for God’s victory over death. It is for this reason that the Church’s Order of Christian Funerals states that:
a)The proper place for the celebration of the Funeral Mass is in the parish church.
b)The use of Christian symbols must be ensured.
c)Music used during the celebration must come from an approved Christian hymnal.
d)The place for ‘words of remembrance’ or the ‘eulogy’ is during the Vigil for the Deceased (or ‘Prayers’)the night before the funeral, or at the lunch following the funeral but not at the Funeral Mass itself.
e)Cremation and the presence of cremated remains at the funeral rites are permitted, but priority should be given to having the body present for the funeral rites, with cremation following the celebration.
The goal is to make the celebration a proclamation of Christian faith and hope about life, about death and about sharing eternally in the glory of Christ’s resurrection. Eulogies are a celebration of the person’s life and accomplishments, but that is not the central meaning of the Christian Funeral, which is to place that person’s life in the context of the paschal mystery.
The focus of the Funeral Mass is not solely or primarily on the person, but on the celebration of faith that gives meaning to a life lived, and hope for everlasting life. Pastorally, that means that all of the steps are to be well done in terms of preparation - meeting with the family, preparing the homily, selecting the Scripture readings, selecting the hymns - to help the family and community find comfort, solace and hope in that linking together of the memories of their beloved with the Christian faith.
These directives speak well the to meaning underlying the Funeral Mass and Christian Burial in the Roman Catholic Church and have been adopted by our pastor for use in the planning and celebration of funerals at Christ the King.