Catholic Funeral Services
When someone you love dies, you are often overwhelmed with sadness. While we all hope to continue our relationship with that person in Heaven, it is still painful to realize that we will not see him/her again until that day comes. At times like these, it’s important to know that you have a community of people who understand your grief and want to help you in any way they can. We want to make things easier for you during your grieving process. Here are all the details you need to know about Catholic funeral services in Singapore.
What is the purpose of Catholic funeral services?
To organize a Catholic funeral, ensuring that most of the logistical and planning details are taken care of as the client gathers friends and family members to mourn, offer support, and pay their last respects.
What happens at Catholic funerals?
At a Catholic funeral service, the body of the deceased is usually present in a traditional casket surrounded by flowers and with a portrait picture of themself propped in front (their passport/IC picture if there is no other photo).
Before the Catholic funeral service
The Wake/The Vergil – A wake is a religious ceremony held to honor the deceased, usually in the presence of family and friends. The priest usually leads the ceremony. The bible and rosary are used, as well as readings, songs, poetry, and memories of the deceased. Eulogies and memories are shared by loved ones, allowing them to comfort one another before the final mass and committal.
The day of the Catholic funeral service
The Entrance – Family and friends are invited to accompany the casket or urn of a loved one into the church, symbolizing that they are carrying the deceased “back to God.” The priest often sprinkles the casket or urn with Holy Water as it is carried. Once placed at the altar for the ceremony, family and friends often place symbolic items onto the casket, such as a bible or crucifix.
Prayers – The priest will lead the congregation in prayers, readings from Scripture, and discussing the topic of resurrection and judgment day. The members of the congregation all pray that God will have mercy on the deceased’s soul and allow them into heaven.
Holy Communion ceremony – This will take place as part of the funeral service. Anyone present who has been committed and baptized as a Catholic will step forward to receive Communion.
Personal readings and music – Additional readings and pieces of music that hold personal meaning for the family can be included at their request.
Rite of Committal – The service concludes with the casket being lowered into the ground. The priest waves incense to represent prayers offered through the incense to God on behalf of the deceased. During the service, the congregation says special prayers and as the casket is lowered, the priest recites: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.
The day after the Catholic funeral service
A common Catholic tradition is for close friends and family to gather at the site of burial, the home of the deceased, or a church after the funeral so that members can comfort and express condolences. Food and drinks are usually prepared, but some families do a potluck where each person contributes a dish for everyone to partake in.
When are Catholic funerals held?
Catholic funerals usually are held two to three days after a person dies, though they may take place any time within a week of the person’s death.
How long do Catholic funerals last?
The majority of Catholic funeral mass will last between 40 minutes to an hour. If the priest includes the Holy Communion and a lot of people respond, it might take longer. The entire funeral process, including wake, mass, and committal should last for about 2 days.
Should I bring flowers?
Check with the family first. If they allow it, then you can bring flowers to decorate the casket according to Catholic funeral traditions. Just avoid ones that are too cutesy or bright.
What do you wear to a Catholic funeral service?Because a funeral is a somber occasion, it is best to dress in conservative colors and styles. Black, white, and muted colours like brown, gray, and blue for example. Do not wear bright colours, casual clothes, fashionably ripped jeans, etc.
Can non-Catholics be invited to a Catholic funeral?
Yes, anyone who is related to the deceased and is invited by the host can come to pay their last respects. Non-Catholics won’t need to partake in the Holy Communion either, just make sure that they remain respectful during procedures.
What should I prepare for when considering Catholic funeral services?
First, check your budget and consider your expectations for the funeral. Do you want it to be grand, or simple? How many seats are you expecting to be filled? The 4k – 5k budget changes depending on your options, so it’s best to discuss with family and friends your budget, finances, and consider pooling money together if needed.
Questions Catholic funeral services might ask you:
- Burial or Cremation
- Funeral location: church, cemetery, or crematorium
- Funeral with or without a Mass
- Preferred dates and time
- Funeral readings and music choices
- Decide roles. Who in the family will carry the coffin, do readings, pray, place the bible and crucifix, etc.
- Decide on one person who will speak in memory of the deceased
- Instructions for flowers
- Reception details
Tips for the grieving individual
- Facing your loss is difficult. You may not feel like attending the funeral at all. You might not even want to think about it. But attending the service can be a very helpful part of the healing process for you and your family, as well as for all those who are important to you.
- It is important to remember that it is not your responsibility to make every attendee feel better at the funeral. You are grieving as well and must take care of yourself before you can help others.
- There is no right way to grieve, but try your best to maintain your composure and treat others with kindness.
We hope that you find this article useful and that your funeral service can be a beautiful occasion, where family and friends gather to remember the dearly departed, exchange memorable stories, and celebrate their life on Earth as it was.
May the memories of your loved one bring you peace and comfort, and may you be comforted by the knowledge that resurrection awaits.