The funeral liturgy of the Church “celebrates the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Those who in baptism have become one with the dead and risen Christ will pass with him from death to life, to be purified in soul and welcomed into the fellowship of the saints in heaven. They look forward in blessed hope to his second coming and the bodily resurrection of the dead. The Church celebrates the eucharistic sacrifice of Christ’s passover for the dead, and offers prayers and petitions for them In the communion of all Christ’s members, the prayers which bring spiritual help to some may bring to others a consoling hope.”
—from the Introduction to the Rite of Funerals
The whole liturgy of Christian burial signifies the faith community’s pivotal beliefs in life, death and eternal life. The mood of the funeral liturgy is richer than older practices that developed in medieval times which emphasized the loss, the sorrow, and the fear that death evokes. Now, both the sadness and the joy must be seen together—one tempered by the other.
The funeral liturgy celebrates the Paschal Mystery and the Christian belief in life everlasting through Word, Sacrament and music. It has its focus in baptism by which one is made a child of God forever and is dramatized in the Easter Vigil and its celebration of the passage through death to new life, where Jesus has led the way.
The funeral Mass, as with all liturgies, is a communal celebration of worship and should involve all those present. The funerals of Catholics occur in the parish church, the community’s “family home” where their lives of worship have centered. In this setting, congregational singing is encouraged and participation in the prayers should be taken for granted certainly to the extent of saying “Amen,” responding to the ritual dialog and joining in the Lord’s Prayer.
We've included here an outline of the Funeral Mass, the common Scripture readings used, hymns and more.